Not uncommonly, some separated parents focus on the shortcomings of the other parent. They worry about the kids when in the other parent’s care.
With the focus on the other parent though, some lose sight of their own issues, and may inadvertently create concern or conflict where it can be avoided.
It can be difficult to accept that parents will have different expectations and styles for addressing and managing their children’s needs. Many will feel the need to impose their wishes, view and expectations on the other parent in these circumstances.
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But, when we involve or insert ourselves into the parenting of the other, this can create resentment and conflict. Unfortunately, that resentment and conflict between the parents can interfere with their ability to share truly important information, or to problem-solve on issues of greater concern.
It may be helpful to remember that just as parents may hold different expectations and ways of managing children’s behaviour, so too does every teacher, coach, instructor, grandparent and babysitter. However, we don’t typically concern ourselves about those differences. We know that with those folks, the children will adjust.
Truth is, given the opportunity, children will also adjust to different parenting styles, expectations and routines between separated parents.
The one thing every parent needs to do for their child then is respect boundaries and not seek to impose what works for you or the child while in your care, upon the other parent. Each parent needs to figure out what works for them in their own home.
There will be differences, but rather than worry about the confusion it may create, think about the flexibility and resiliency it facilitates.
After all, every child will grow up to live in a much more complex world and set of adult relationships. Just like one teacher wouldn’t tell another teacher how to handle their class, so too can things go smoother when parents respect boundaries.