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Parent coordination for child rules in divorced families

Arizona, as well as many other states, is finding that shared joint custody is becoming more and more popular in divorced families. Attorneys can help parents work out creative visitation schedules that give both equal time with their children. While this is good for most children, a problem can arise when parents have completely different parenting styles.

If a child is allowed to do things at one parent's home and not allowed the same freedom at their other parent's home, this can cause a rife between the parents. The child may also resent the less permissive parent. They could even request to live solely with the more permissive parent.

Technology is one issue where parents often disagree. One parent may allow their child a cellphone, while the other parent doesn't think they are ready for one. One parent may allow their child to play video games or spend hours on the computer, while the other parent wants them to be more rounded in other activities and limits their use of technology devices.

While it would be nice to have parent coordination, where both parents set rules together and compromise to make them work, this is seldom the case. If you and your ex have different rules regarding the use of technology or other child-raising decisions, the most important thing is to stick to your standards while your child is with you. Realize, though, that the same goes for your ex. They have a right to stick to their parenting rules when the child is with them. You should not interfere with their parenting style except in extreme circumstances.

Just be consistent with your rules at your home, and don't undermine your spouse by criticizing their rules. Your child may give you a hard time at first if you are the less permissive parent. However, if you remain consistent with your rules, they will eventually accept that this is the way it is at your house.

If children argue about what they are allowed to do at the other parent's home, a simple response telling them, "it is okay for parents to have different rules on some things" is much better than criticizing the other parent and insinuating that your way is the "right" way. In the end, your child will respect you -- both for sticking to your guns and showing respect for their other parent.

Source: The Huffington Post, "6 Ways to Manage Children's Technology Use With Shared Physical Custody" Dr. Kate Roberts, Mar. 04, 2014

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