Older children can become manipulative when their parents divorce. They may use the divorce as a means of getting what they want, whether they desire technological devices or more time out with their friends.
A lack of consistency between households will make it much easier for children to engage in manipulative behavior and pit one parent against the other in a shared custody arrangement. Prioritizing consistency between both parental households will minimize the likelihood that your children can get around the rules because of your co-parenting situation.
Agree on household rules
Bedtime, curfew and screen time limitations should remain the same from house to house. While parents often don’t agree about every detail regarding discipline and the rules for the children, it is crucial that they establish consistent rules in their parenting plan.
If both parents agree that bedtime is 9 p.m. on weeknights and 10 on Friday and Saturday, then a child can’t claim that they receive different treatments at the other house. Consistent rules about everything from curfews when children go out with friends to what website they aren’t allowed to visit are easier to enforce for the adults and easier for the children to follow.
Set school performance and behavioral expectations
Every parent has their own set of standards that apply to their child’s daily behaviors and overall school performance. You and your ex may have different standards, but you need to provide consistent reinforcement for the same standards when you talk to your children about expectations.
From healthy ways to express anger to acceptable grades on major tests, having similar standards and expectations at both households will make it easier for a child to meet those expectations.
Commit to frequent and thorough communication
Children might withhold information that they don’t want to share, making them unreliable messengers between co-parents. Even if you need to use a parenting app, having an expectation of frequent and transparent communication about the children is important for co-parents.
From issues at school during the week to an argument had with a friend over the weekend, there are certain things that parents need to share with one another so that they can monitor and support the children adequately. Keeping the lines of communication open and the topic focused on the children will make it easier for the two of you to consistently support your children and present a united front after the divorce.
Working together when you share custody can lead to a better outcome for your family after a divorce.