How to avoid problems with rules between homes

Manassa & Neugebauer, P.C.

It may go without saying, but co-parenting is not easy for divorcing and separated couples. Besides the obvious philosophical differences between parents, children have for generations pitted parents against each other in an attempt to get their way. You may not realize it, but may have already been victim to the old “dad (or mom) said I could have it” scheme, especially when kids live between homes.

When this happens, the parent who eventually gives in is often depicted as the villain, which could create more discord between parents. To avoid this, there are some simple tips that can stem the discord.

Keep simple rules – If each parent has a long list of minute rules that only apply to their home, kids can easily become confused and frustrated. Imagine having to know all the rules of the house in addition to schoolwork and clarinet lessons. It can be a bit much. Instead, keep a concise list that embodies your values.

Use positive reinforcement – It’s hard for children to get beat down with so many negative rules (i.e. edicts that start with the word “don’t). Instead of focusing on what they should not do, center on what they should do (i.e. treat everyone with kindness, instead of don’t hurt people).

Rules should be universal – Rules should be simple and broad enough to apply between houses. This would be especially important when one house is inherently strict while the other is more or less a laissez faire home. Most importantly, they should be rules that can be helpful in any venue.

Source: About.com, Are your family’s house rules clear

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How to avoid problems with rules between homes