Help Your Children Adjust to Different Rules in Two Homes
Children who are able to feel connected to both parents after the divorce will adjust better to the changes in their lives. While mom and dad struggle to move in different directions, children want to maintain their sense of a family unit. Follow these easy tips to help your children adjust to life in two homes.
You and your ex probably have different rules. This is only a problem if you choose to make it a problem.
While it may seem like your ex is trying to make you look like the bad parent by letting the kids stay up later or allowing them to play video games any time they want (whether homework is done or not), your children simply need to know the rules. They can understand there are different rules in each household.
If you handle it with confidence and understanding, your children will accept your rules without problems.
Here's the scenario:
It's 9:00. Time for bed. You remind your ten year old to brush his teeth before bed.
He looks at you. "I want to watch this show."
You tell him, "You know that 9:00 is bedtime. Now, brush your teeth and get ready for bed."
"Dad lets me stay up as late as I want. You're being mean."
Here is where you need to stop. How you respond can make a big difference in your relationship with your child.
Take a deep breath and think about what is happening here before you speak. You just heard your child call you a meany because your ex lets him do things you don't approve of. If you speak before you think, you may create a problem.
Things to think about before you react:
Consider responding like this:
"You have school tomorrow and you know bedtime is 9:00. I don't know what your father's rules are, but you need to follow them at his house. And, you need to follow my rules in this house. If there is a good reason for wanting to watch that show, please tell me and I will consider it. Otherwise, bedtime is 9:00."
If you get angry or belittle your ex's rules, you only create a problem. Your children see a divided front as a way to play parents against each other and allow themselves more freedom.
Remember, rules don't have to be the same in each household. Your children will adjust just fine if you acknowledge the fact that rules are different and it is their job to follow the rules in your home.