Part 4 - House Rules of Co-Parenting
As a co-parent you are going to hear words out of your child's mouth that sounds like, "At (insert mom or dad) house he lets us do xyz". And so now a new form of mediation starts. Remember this, when you have children, you will have to mediate from the time they slither out of bed and until the time they get put in bed, tied down, and asleep. Well, maybe not the tied down bit, but it is a thought. Laugh, it is a joke. So now we must talk about the House Rules of Co-Parenting and being "consistent" in both houses.
It does not mean the rules need to be identical, but consistent. The goal, being a co-parent, is to provide your kid(s) with a sense of structure and routine because it will make them feel a sense of security and predictability. If you are consistent in both homes, then they will know what is expected from both parents. Co-parents should never get involved with the rules in the other home or express their anger. Remember you are co-parents. You are independent mediators on children's issues or rules in each home. Be consistent in your house rules but do not expect the other house to do exactly as you do.
Now there are going to be things outside of the home, such as school activities and issues, summer camps, piano lessons, and other stuff that you will need to work out together and talk to each other about. Your children's life has a whole different world then you two co-parents. Work together on those issues, staying focused on what needs to happen or be resolved.
If there is an issue in a co-parenting home that is causing an issue where the child is not feeling comfortable and has told a parent, then that needs to be addressed. Any signs of abuse need to be addressed. But on the general house rules stay out of the way unless you see it abusive.
I hate to use this as an example, but I have seen it first-hand. Some of you have parents that love to get involved in your lives, and they will call you up or come into your lives and tell you the what for. You get offended. Communication gets broken down because of hurt feelings. You have two options when you get hurt feelings or have been hurt, you can feel wounded, or you can become wise. Choose the wisdom because you get nowhere being the victim. Wisdom lets you go forward. Being wounded just wounds everyone one else, your wound spreads to other people. You know what you call that? Conflict. And if you leave the conflict open, delay the conflict, it means you just multiplied the conflict. At that point, call in a mediator to resolve the conflict. This same pattern is what happens when you start getting involved with what is going on in the other parent’s house. Remember, be consistent in the house rules so your child knows what is expected of them in your house(s).
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Michael Lodge is a Nationally Certified Professional Mediator specializing in business disputes, as well as family conflicts. He has written three books and hosts an international podcast on IHeartRadio and other podcast media stations.