Stability is critical for children when their parents are getting divorced. Among the things that can help with providing it is parents being both compassionate and consistent when it comes to discipline. It is common for children to act out in the wake of a divorce. How parents respond to this can have big impacts on the children's long-term well-being and emotional health. Being inconsistent, too lenient or too harsh could cause problems.
When getting divorced, it is very important for parents to coordinate on discipline. Among the things parents should consider having discussions with each other about on this front include:
- What core values they share when it comes to raising the children
- What discipline policies would best fit these values
- Having a uniform set of household rules for the children that will apply at both parents' homes
- What response is (and isn't) appropriate when the children violate these rules
In addition to coming to informal arrangements on discipline, parents can also address these types of issues within custody agreements to set clear ground rules.
Having a coordinated discipline policy and clearly communicating it can help divorcing parents with setting clear and consistent expectations for their children.
Sometimes, parents get into disagreements over these matters. In some instances, these disputes are relatively minor and are able to be quickly resolved. Other times though they may touch on some deep and fundamental issues, and leave a parent worried about the well-being of his or her child. When a parent is concerned that his or her ex's approach to discipline is not consistent with their child's best interests, health and safety, he or she may want to discuss the situation with a professional, such as a skilled family law attorney, to understand the options for response.