Once you and your spouse are living separately, your child has two separate homes. Most parents are anxious to establish their own rules and their own way of life after a divorce, but expecting your child to navigate two homes with two rules can be difficult.
If possible, the best way to navigate two separate homes is to work together as parents to create rules for your child in both homes. Things are never going to be exactly the same, but the big things should be consistent, so that your child can stay in a routine and be able to understand expectations easily. Rules that should apply in both homes include:
- Curfews. A regular curfew prevents teens from playing one parent off the other and reduces arguments. A reasonable curfew is also important so that teens can function well in school.
- Homework. If one parent has a rule that homework must be done before any screen time is allowed and the other doesn’t enforce any homework rules, it means your child is left without a routine and without consistent expectations. Try to agree on a policy for homework you both feel comfortable enforcing.
- Bedtime. No parent can get a child in bed at 8 pm on the dot every single night, but a set bedtime at both houses will mean your child can stick to a general schedule and leaves no room for negotiating.
- Food. It’s useful to try to have the same expectations when it comes to food. This can include rules about snacking, desserts, eating at night, types of food (organic, vegetarian, etc.), as well as rules about technology at the dinner table and the times at which meals are scheduled. These types of rules are very important for younger children and may not be as necessary if you have teens.
Parenting together is an ongoing experiment and it’s important to check in with each other as your child changes and rules may need adjustment.
When you need an attorney who will stand up for you, call the Sampair Group in Maricopa County. We’re ready to take your call.