The Bench & Bar of Minnesota website lists twelve factors that were recently put in place to define the “best interests of a child.” One of those twelve factors is the ability of parents to cooperate in raising their child. For divorced parents who share custody of their child, cooperation becomes even more important. Giving your child a stable, structured upbringing can make the child custody experience more positive and provide your child with a healthy and stable life.
Psychology Today recommends that divorced spouses create a parenting scheme that governs the child consistently no matter which home the child is staying in. These rules include when the child goes to bed, what the child eats, the child’s daily chores, the times to do schoolwork, and rules for leisure like watching television or using a computer. A consistent scheme not only promotes responsibility and structure, but also provides security for the child.
Be aware, though, that your child may try to test your rules and boundaries. A child may believe there is a chance he or she may acquire something from one parent that cannot be gained from the other parent. Consistent rules between both homes will make sure the child understands that one parent will not be softer than the other in disciplinary matters.
Promoting consistency for a child may also require that one parent put aside ill feelings toward the other parent. At times you might not want to adjust your parenting scheme because you know your ex-spouse wants it. However, if it is in the best interest of your child, making such changes is the better option.
Additionally, you want your child to respect you and your former spouse. If your child voices disrespect toward your ex, discourage them from doing so. Even if you have a poor opinion of your ex-spouse, you do not want your child to express such sentiments. A child that does not respect one parent might not respect that parent’s authority and could act out. This could cause complications for your child custody arrangement if the other parent charges that you are turning the child against him or her.
If communications with your ex are still difficult, keep in mind you do not have to do it in person. You may use mediums like your email, or you could text your former spouse. You can also exchange voicemails. Some online resources allow you to relay schedules and information to one another. These tools can help make sharing custody easier and productive.