Co-parenting sounds like a lovely idea, one that involves cooperation and agreement about how to raise a child following a divorce or breakup. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, and parents in Pennsylvania often find themselves in the middle of heated disputes about the differing parenting styles between the two homes. However, family counselors say it does not have to be this way. Parenting time can be unique in each home without causing confusion for the child or tension between the parents.
When abuse or neglect are not issues, many separated parents find it works well to have each parent set his or her own rules for discipline, chores, homework and other issues. Ideally, both can agree to individual parenting styles, but if this isn’t the case, it is smart for one parent to disengage when the other complains about the way they parent. Additionally, they can improve the chances of successful co-parenting in other ways, including:
- Not placing the children in the middle of their battles
- Not speaking negatively about the other parent to or around the child
- Not allowing the child to manipulate them into changing the rules based on the style of the other parent
- Remaining empathetic if the child struggles with transitions between parents
- Accepting that sometimes things at home won’t be perfect
Many Pennsylvania parents find that children can quickly adjust to the differences in parenting time. Of course, there may be times when even these methods do not facilitate peaceful coparenting. When disagreements jeopardize one’s parenting rights or place the well-being of the child at risk, a parent may do well to seek legal advice about the most appropriate way to handle the matter.