What do you do when you’re co-parenting a toddler with your ex and you have conflicting parenting styles? Here are some things to try.
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Try To Find Some Middle Ground On Big Issues
If you and your ex have different parenting styles, it can be hard for your toddler to understand what they can and cannot do when at a certain parent’s house. Though you and your ex might have completely different parenting styles, there are many issues that you should just let slide and focus on finding some middle ground on the big issues, according to Healthy Children. For example, a small thing that you would not want to bring up to your ex is how your child does not put their toys away since they don’t have to at dad’s house. Instead of bringing something like this to your ex-partner, it’s better to just focus on teaching your child why it is important to pick up their toys no matter where they are.
A big issue that you would want to find some middle ground on is only allowing your toddler to go to houses of parents that both you and your ex have meant, or to only allow a certain number of treats per day. These types of issues are big issues because they focus on the child’s health and safety. So, before you go and talk to your ex about their parenting style and how it does not align with yours, take a moment and think about whether or not it is a pressing issue that will affect your child’s health or safety. If it’s not, then there’s really no need to bring it up. Choose your battles wisely.
Don’t Take It Out On Your Child
Co-parenting is hard as it is, but when your parenting style is completely different from your ex, it can feel impossible to raise your child together at times. The most important thing you need to do when it comes to having conflicting parenting styles is to remember to not take it out on your child. Though this is not something that a parent will intentionally do, it’s important to be very self-aware when your child does something that you don’t approve of. Divorce And Children mentions that if your child does do something you don’t allow at your house, but you know your ex allows at theirs, it’s important to take a moment to think before you speak to them.
You can remind them in a calm voice that you don’t like it when they do something or behave a certain way, but you never want your child to be in the middle of your relationship with the other parent. Never say things like, “mom says that you should, but I don’t” or, “dad says that you shouldn’t, but I think it’s okay.” Putting your child in the middle of your argument by having them be a communicator is not good for their mental health and can leave them confused and upset. Instead, focus on what you can control and be a gentle remember for your little one that you have certain rules that you expect them to respect when it comes to staying with you.
Don’t Criticize Your Ex’s Parenting Style
It is safe to say that if you’ve split from your ex, there were communication issues in your relationship. Something that you should not do when you have conflicting parenting styles with your ex is to criticize their parenting style. Weinberger Law Group says that there is a reason why everyone, including parents of the same child, have different parenting styles. This is because different people naturally lean toward a parenting style, and this is something we do without thinking. It’s just something built in us from watching how our parents did things and either appreciating those things or desiring to do differently. So if you and your ex have conflicting parenting styles, then it’s important to not judge or criticize their style.
This is extremely important when you are in front of your child. No child wants to hear a parent tearing down another parent. Judging and criticizing your ex in front of your child can leave them feeling very upset and not knowing how they feel about you. You want your child to see both parents in a positive light even if you and your child’s other parent are no longer together. Instead, realize that you and your ex have different parenting styles, and instead of that being a topic of discussion whenever you two are together, focus on what is most important: your little one.
Focus On Your Little One
It can be easy to get frustrated when you and your ex have different and conflicting parenting styles. Harley Therapy says to remember to focus on what’s important and that is your child. At the end of the day, you and your ex’s only goal should be to keep your child happy and healthy. If both parenting styles between you and your ex-partner are keeping your child safe when they are staying at the responding houses, then there’s no need to stress too much when it comes to the details of life.
If both parents prioritize the child, then no matter the parenting style, that child will be able to be raised in houses that love and care for them! So try to put your differences aside when it comes to raising your little one and focus on being the best parent you can be.
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