Raising children is hard enough. When you throw parental disagreements into the picture, it gets far tougher. As a divorced couple, you still have to work together when it comes to your children. But what if you don’t agree on how you should do things?
Maybe your ex doesn’t think that school is all that important. He or she lets the children stay up late, doesn’t make them do their homework and sometimes doesn’t send them to school at all. You, on the other hand, think school is incredibly important for their future, and you feel like your ex is undermining your efforts.
Or, maybe you don’t agree on how to discipline the children. You approve of methods that your ex doesn’t agree with. He or she sees you as a strict, authoritarian figure who puts too much pressure on the children. You see your ex as a laid-back, uninvolved parent who is allowing them to grow out of control and refusing to teach them critical lessons they’ll need to learn.
For right now, let’s not pick sides on a specific issue. The point is simply that the two of you don’t agree. What can you do?
1. Have tough conversations when you feel calm
Never start a conversation when you feel angry and emotional. Let yourself calm down. Approach the conversation rationally. Understand that it will be hard. Reacting too emotionally can just turn it into a shouting match, and then you will not get anywhere.
2. Pick your battles
Experts note that parents often feel more strongly about certain topics and less strongly about others. They don’t always care about the same things to the same degree. Understand when something is important to your ex and not very important to you — and vice versa. If you pick your battles and agree to let some things go, you may then have more success in the areas you really care about.
3. Listen to what your ex has to say
Don’t just disagree outright. Take the time to understand why they feel the way they feel. Let them explain the difference of opinion. You may not agree when they’re done, but it still helps.
4. Always put the children first
Remember that spending too much time fighting with your ex is unhealthy for the kids and does not lead to any progress. Put them first. Act accordingly. That doesn’t mean letting your ex have their way all of the time, but make sure you don’t get so caught up in the conflict that you forget about the kids.
Know your rights
Finally, if you face serious parenting issues after divorce, just make sure you know your rights and all of the legal options that you have.