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In the wake of a New York separation or divorce, co-parenting with your ex can be a difficult process, depending upon the nature of the divorce, the relationship between you and your ex spouse, and your styles of parenting. Having two different parenting styles while trying to co-parent after a divorce can be a struggle. Luckily,there are some techniques you can use to smooth out the process, and achieve a level of co-parenting that is beneficial to you, your ex spouse and your children.
There are a variety of do’s and don’ts that co-parents should abide by for a smoother collaboration. These include:
• Make Co-Parenting an Open Dialogue between Both Parties
• Keep Rules Consistent In Both Homes
• Engage in Positive Talk Around the Home
• Set Agreed Upon Boundaries and Behavioral Expectations
• Create an Extended Family Plan
• Know Co-Parenting is a Challenge
• Know Children Will Test Boundaries
• Avoid Being the “Fun” Parent
• Keep Each Other Updated
• Praise Each Others’ Strengths
• Don’t Speak Negatively About Your Ex To the Kids
• Don’t Overreact, or Jump To Conclusions When the Kids Speak About Your Ex
• Don’t Be Unbalanced in One’s Parenting (like being the “cool” or “fun” parent)
• Don’t Let Guilt Overtake You
• Don’t Be a Lax Parent to Punish Your Ex
• Don’t Accuse; Discuss Instead
Dr. Claire Nicogossian, licensed clinical psychologist and author of Mom’s Well-Being, talks about the 4 different parenting styles. These are:
• Authoritarian: Strict, with high standards, and absolutes.
• Permissive: Anything goes; this parent supports the child with everything they desire.
• Authoritative: Honest communication, rational thinking; fostering autonomy with expectations and guidelines that are focused on helping the child grow into the adult they are meant to be.
• Neglectful: Failure to meet the emotional, psychological and physical needs of the child. There is a lack of involvement, and rules, and a parent may even be absent for extended periods of time.
Neglectful parenting can be one of the more harmful methods of parenting, while permissive and authoritarian also pose risks toward child development.
If you and your ex spouse have differing parenting styles, the following 9 tips may be helpful:
• Talk: Open communication with your ex is the best way for you to resolve conflicts in parenting styles, and work together to do what is best for your kids.
• Learn to Compromise: This may be easier said than done, but meeting your ex half way may help encourage compromise in the future when it is in your favor, and may begin to build trust as co-parents.
• Form a United Front: Parents who can unite as a team for the kids regardless of their parenting style, or relationship status, will be helping their children adjust, and become more successful.
• Teach Healthy Conflict Resolution: Modeling healthy conflict resolution to your kids will teach them how to resolve conflicts later in life.
• Be A good Role Model: Children mimic their parents, so teach them by setting a positive example. Don’t speak poorly about the other parent, and do not guilt your child for spending time with the other parent.
There is no official handbook for parenting, and most parents try to be the best parents they know how to be with the tools they’ve been given. With a bit of patience and communication, it is possible to co-parent successfully, even if you and your ex don’t see eye-to-eye in terms of approach, or style.
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