Monday, June 1, 2015
When Children Share Different Households
Have you considered that you and your spouse's parenting styles may differ? What do you do when you are divorced with children and your children come home and tell you they can stay up as late as they want over mom's or dad's house? What do you do when even after discussions you and your divorced spouse are not on the same page with raising your children?
According to Brett Sember at womansdivorce.com, there is no perfect approach to parenting and that children do benefit from different parenting styles. It is further added that one parent may be rigid about bedtimes and curfew, while the other parent may allow the children to stay up late and even return the children to the other parent late just to tick the other off. Does this sound familiar to you? Has this happened to you?
Because I have been there and done that, I learned that I could voice my wishes to my spouse regarding our children, but once they were with him to some extent the parenting was out of my control. In other words if the children are not in harms way, some battles are not worth it.
2 Households Plus
After divorce or separation, children learn that they have 2 houses that they live in at different times, sometimes more than that when grandparents or other relatives are involved. Children learn to adjust and can be quite flexible. The important thing is for you to be clear about your expectations in your household. Explain to your children your spouse may have different exceptions in that household. Yes it would be very nice if both you and your spouse could be on the same page regarding raising your children, but that does not always happen.
Also in the article:
I mentioned about children spending the night over grandparents. Now this is an instance where children learn very early in life about different households. As one woman once told me, “Yeah you grandparents just spoil our children.”
I recall before my husband and I even divorced our parenting styles were different, but our children still turned out okay. He did not want our baby to use a pacifier because he thought it would cause her to have buck teeth. I gave her one anyway. The results were she had beautiful white straight teeth. When I went grocery shopping, I would come home to find the baby laying on his chest and they both were on the floor sound asleep. That is something I would never do, but now scientists have discovered the heart beat of the parent is soothing to the baby and conducive to sleep. I say that to say that there are differences in marriage and in divorce, but your children will learn what is expected at each household and they can benefit from the differences as well.
Just like God gives us free will as to whether we will accept him in our lives, the same with your children. You give them your guidelines and your expectations and pray that they will remember them and follow them when they are not with you. You let them know there is a consequence for every action. In reality there is no guarantee that they will follow your instructions all the time. They will make mistakes or even decide they like the way that your spouse does some things. Just remember they are watching both of you and learning from both of you. That is not all bad either, because they need both of you as well as needing relatives that are available to help.
For the most part, children want to please their parents. So it is important for you as a parent to let your child know the expectations you have for them. So even when they are over to your spouse's house and they are allowed to stay up late, they know that that is not acceptable in your household and is a choice that they are making. Yes not many children would pass up staying up as late as they want and that is understandable.
Finally, we need to remember you and your spouse were raised by different people. Many times opposites attracts. If everyone in this world were just alike, this would be a boring world. Your children will be able to find some commonality between the both of you.
Photo Caption: Commons, Wikimedia.org, Public Domain, SanjibLemar
Balancing Different Ways of Parenting, Brette Sember
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