In this article, I’m going to share 12 essential tips for resolving parenting disputes. Parenting is a huge responsibility and when dealing with the daily activities of a family there is bound to be conflict. It can be even more challenging if both parents are divorced. Everyone has a different parenting style and the chances are that you and your ex-spouse may not agree on everything. These 12 tips will help you handle any difficulties you may encounter.
1. Put Your Children First
The key to overcoming disagreements is learning to love your children more than you dislike or even hate your ex-spouse. When you both are focused on the best interest of your children rather than your anger or resentment towards the other parent, then it becomes much easier to put your differences aside and come to an agreement.
2. Understand the Difference Between A Bad Ex-Spouse and A Bad Parent
It can be easy to vilify your ex-spouse, but that doesn’t mean they are necessarily a bad parent or that your children will likely love them or crave their attention and approval any less. Even if your ex-spouse has betrayed you and/or your relationship did not end amicably, that doesn’t negate how they relate to and treat your children. If you find your feelings for your ex-partner affecting their relationship with your child, then you may need to seek professional help or counseling.
3. Do Not Speak Negatively About Your Ex-Spouse
Your children deserve to have a healthy, loving relationship with each parent without any outside or negative influence. Speaking badly about your ex-spouse to your children puts them in an unfair position as they may feel pressure to choose sides.
4. Do Not Argue in Front of Your Children
It is important to present a united front for your children regardless of any disagreements you may have behind the scenes. You want to make sure that your children feel like they are in a safe, stable environment loved by both parents even if their parents no longer live together.
5. Listen, Listen, Listen
Even if you don’t agree with the other parent’s point of view, you must learn to listen. Communication is essential to understanding the other party during a disagreement.
6. Communicate with Your Ex-Spouse About Your Children
Although you may not be in a marriage anymore, you both are still parents to your children. Once you’ve accepted that your children are not responsible for your separation, you need to communicate with both your children and your ex-spouse. Vital information can be missed if both parents are not communicating.
7. Be Flexible
One of the main sources of conflict is visitation or parenting time. Chronic lateness, cancellations, and a number of other behaviors contribute to these conflicts. Flexibility on both sides helps the separation process to become more agreeable to both you and your children.
8. Don’t Bring Finances into It
Both before, during, and after a divorce or separation, financial and support issues can and will arise from time to time. These are completely separate issues that should remain that way. Do not let arguments over money affect your conversations concerning the children and the parties’ continued cooperation in parenting them.
9. Consider Mediation
Having a judge make decisions after a couple of hours of testimony and evidence at a trial about your family, whom they don’t know, and your unique family situation, which they really may not know anything about, can lead to outcomes which fail to work for the benefit of any of the parties involved. Negotiating with a mediator for agreements and outcomes that you can agree on and are in control of can be one of the best decisions you can make for you and your family.
10. Do Not Compete
Rivalries can arise between parents when they are vying for the attention and love of their children, however, this can put the child in the middle of a conflict. Do not let your differences undermine your common goal – which is to raise your children to be the best person that they can be. Each parent should take lead in the areas they excel.
11. Remain Consistent
Although you may not be sharing the same home anymore, it’s important to children that each parent remain consistent when it comes to basic house and etiquette rules. That does not mean every detail needs to be the same, but general expectations of behavior and boundaries should be the same and enforced consistently at both households. Separation is difficult enough for children and the added stress of inconsistent rules is unnecessary.
12. Get Help If You Need It
If you’ve exhausted all options and implemented these tips, but still cannot manage to agree then you may need to enlist the help of a legal or other professional. There are many attorneys that specialize in resolving parental disputes and this may be the best option if you cannot come to an agreement with your ex-spouse.
If you’re struggling to resolve parenting disputes with your ex-spouse and you need legal advice, contact the attorneys at OWENS & PERKINS by calling our office at 480.994.8824 or click here to schedule your FREE 30-minute legal consultation.