to ask your opinion on parenting and discipline when separated(24 Posts)
Hello. Husband and I are currently going through a divorce, and have 3 children, the eldest of whom is a teenager. We love our children more than anything and try to be the very best parents we can under the circumstances. It hasn't always been particularly amicable, but I have tried so very hard to keep it so, for the sake of the children.
I'd like to ask your opinion on discipline in a family such as ours. I'd love anyone to chip in obviously, but would be particularly keen to hear from those in a similar situation.
If a child does something which warrants a consequence, such as time away from mobile phone or computer, should it be the parent who imposed it who sticks by it alone? Or in order to present a united, respectful and consistent front with this kind of thing, should the other parent back it up and support the parent who had dealt it … as after all, they wouldn't do it without reason!
It's all so very hard at times, and I sometimes feel like I'm 'playing' at being adulty and not really knowing if what I'm doing is right, fair, in the best interests of the child etc.
Would really value your views either way … but please be gentle tonight
Oh, and just to add that ex-husband and I obviously live apart (me with the children), which can make this kind of thing a bit tricky.
Love by posting you are proving you are a fantastic mum.
It must be so so hard and I haven't been in that position but with friends who have and in my own experience kids are better off with parents who present a united front on discipline and support each other while discussing everything between each other.
Good luck op. Divorced or single or together we are all just muddling through
You sound like you're doing the best in difficult circumstances.
Honestly, together or separate, the best consequences are swift, 'natural' and done by the person who was there for the behaviour. I don't like when DH 'hot-potato's consequences so I don't think it's a good idea to do that divorced or together. I don't like it when the school does it either.
Fair point Terry. I guess there will be divided opinion on this. That's the beauty of AIBU and why I appreciate others' perspectives!
I have a 5 yo though so the consequences have to be at the speed of light. With a teenager, it is different...
Unless the punishment is very unfair, then it's best to present a united front.
My DH's ex, lived to go against him, she enjoyed the stress it caused in our house. She bares no responsibility for having a part in my DSS becoming addicted to drugs.
However, I've had female friends whose ex has wanted to treat teen girls very differently than teen boys and they've had to go against them.
I would back him, but he was reluctant to back me. Sadly it's the story of our lives!
My husband's best friend is separated from his partner and has been for some years. They have a DD14 and I think he's not always found it easy to discipline as split wasn't amicable amd there was a certain degree of "out doing" each other.
I think from having spoken to him, the easiest and best discipline came from him and ex-p starting to get on again. When relations became
More amicable they were able to sing from same hymn sheet. She is remarried but they still attend Dd's parents nights and dance shows together as a united front. They also keep in contact by text to make sure they're aware what DD is doing when she's at alternate houses.
I think he's found it difficult but that seems to be the way they're making it work.
Hope that helps
I split from DS1's Father when he was 5 months, so a very different situation. We've spent 10 years co-parenting as best we can; we both have a say in schooling, we try and stay on a similar page re rules and expectations and we try our best to work together. We communicate often, don't hold grudges and have spent christmases and birthdays together for DS because his happiness trumps our (and our DP's) preferences while he's young.
There are times he aggravates the living shit out of me; his relaxed attitude to homework and xbox hours mean I am often pegged as the bad guy. But I try and pick my battles; I'm sure I aggravate the Ex, too, and we have to get along or DS1 suffers. It's only doable if you're both willing to compromise, though.
Keep posting op xx all here for you on mumsnet.
I would try and have regular conversations about the children but without them to discuss issues such as school, bedtimes, rules, holiday planning etc before it's a flashpoint. If you make a stand on something tell the other parent and ask for their backing before the child has a chance to play one of you off against the other.
But ultimately sometimes you have to say 'well I know daddy lets you at his house but you live with me so my rules apply here. Tough.
If you're really lucky they'll soon acquire a doting stepmum who actually enjoys helping with homework and providing a taxi service.
day to day stuff gets dealt with by the parent who was in charge at the time.
if, god forbid, they did something terrible... then the consequecnces could be discussed with the other parent and agreed upon, if you have that sort of relationship.
Not much constructive to add, but I'm also in your situation and it can be tough, but not as tough as sharing a family and home with the ex in the first place!
I'd try to keep any
punishments consequences so that they only impact on your time, e.g if he's going to his dad's on Saturday and gets in trouble on Wednesday, confiscate the phone for 24 hours or at the most until Friday, then there is no onus on your ex to continue and therefore undermine you by not continuing the consequence!
Other things I would try to have a general chat about the DCs and their behaviour every week or month, even if it doesn't naturally come up at handover. It will help your DCs in the long run if you are at least both on the same book if not the same page
DCs will soon grasp the concept of 'it may be ok at your dad's but it's not here!" especially if they are not with him as often, it's bound to be a bit more laid back.
I would not expect the other parent to carry on my punishment and I would also not do so with one of theirs.
Hi OP you sound like a fab parent. the fact that you are having this conversation is testament to that. I thought I'd give a slightly different perspective, as my parents separated when i was about 9 my brothers were 5&8. My parents absolutely were on the same page with expectations and punishment, school etc. One brother in particular was a cheeky bugger and always late with homework etc. Sometimes my parents would say "i am disappointed (ouch) I will speak to your father /mother before I decide what to do with you". We just knew that we could not play one off against the other. I always thought that my parents just 'grew apart' they seemed to muddle along so well, I only found out in my twenties that my dad had actually had an affair. so strong was my mums will to bring us up together she decided not to tell us!
Children can cope with different rules / expectations if there is consistency and they know what to expect from each parent
I was also the child and I think what Mark sais is spot on. Keep the consequences on you time as much as possible. It will minimise tension ond possible conflicts between both of you. It's not difficult for a child to understand different house, different rules. What is tough is when the rules are unclear or cause tensions between the parents.
My dh and I separated and then got back together when our children were relatively young and consequences fairly immediate so having a united front wasn't really necessary. Also we had very similar parenting approaches so we'd never really had much conflict over that.
However now we have teenagers I can see that it would be much harder, as firstly we don't always agree on thew approach now, and secondly consequences tend to be longer term. I imagine it's also much harder if you don't get to spend that much time with your child to have them arrive aggrieved and sulky about a punishment that you then have to follow through with, especially if you had no say as to the nature of the punishment.
Plus I imagine that older children probably bring an awful lot more baggage to separation than young children (I know our two accepted our platitudes about our break up that they would in no way accept now). I think I would try and reduce the amount of conflict between their homes as much as possible. So big issues discussed and agreed by both parents before longer term consequences are put in place, and smaller issues managed within each household.
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