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How do I and my ex maintain child discipline after divorce?

If your parents get divorced when you are young, it can seem like your whole world has been turned upside down. Suddenly, your parents live in two separate houses, and no longer discipline you as a unit.

Though children may be tempted to push boundaries, in the long run the last thing they need is lax enforcement of the rules in either household. Consistent behavioral expectations help give children of divorce a sense of stability they badly need after such a dramatic change in their lives.

Here are some tips for divorced parents to help them demonstrate that to the kids that the same rules are still in place -- and will be enforced:

  • Collaborate with your ex as much as possible. This is difficult for many divorced couples, but at least get on the same page on big issues, if you can. That way, the kids can expect things to be about the same no matter which parent they are with.
  • If the two of you cannot talk civilly about child rearing, consider bringing in a third party to help.
  • Don't overturn a decision by the other parent, especially after you already agreed to abide by it.
  • Avoid the temptation to confide your frustration with your ex with your children. No matter your feelings about him or her, he or she is still the kids' parent.

Obviously, divorce generally is a difficult transition for the parents as well as the children. One source of comfort can be the knowledge that the children are experiencing as little of a jolt as possible.

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