Children's Discipline: How To Resolve Divorce Parenting Differences?
By Ruben Francia
Did you know that inconsistency on matters of discipline gives double messages, produces anxiety and can be very
confusing to your children? Children need to know where they stand in their behaviors. It is therefore critical for
parents to resolve their differences in matters of children's discipline.
Since divorce parents leave on a separate house, they often differ in their rules and expectations for their
children. People tend to view individual differences in terms of right and wrong. The adage holds: "If you are not
with me, you are against me." In marriage, people call it incompatibility. In divorce, these differences sometimes
resulted to expensive litigation, each trying to force the other to change and stop being different.
The matter of disciplining children can be the source of conflict among divorce parents. Each parent has
different ideas as to what the appropriate discipline should be. Each viewed the other's proposal of disciplining
as wrong. The consequences of their dispute were that there was ineffective or no discipline at all.
To turn differences into a unified discipline, parents should resolve the differences according to children's
best interest. They can adopt the approach as listed below:
1. Make an agreement with your former spouse on what is realistically expected for your children. These should
be based on the children's age, their temperament, their ability to follow directions, and the divorce structure of
2. Come to some meeting of the minds on what values are highest priorities for each and on which behaviors you
both agree are important to nurture in your children.
3. Discuss with your former spouse your preferences for discipline to see if there is an opportunity for
consistency across households.
4. In areas where there is an opportunity for consistency across households, make an agreement with your former
spouse that whatever approaches are agreed upon, both of you will be consistently using the same when the children
are with you.
5. Write the agreements down, review them and be sure they are workable.
6. In areas in which you differ, find a compromise that you both can live with and stick by it.
7. Set clear expectations for the children at each home. Explain to the children that there are certain rules at
mom's house and certain rules at dad's house.
8. Never argue in the front of the children about disagreements in discipline approaches.
Help your children know where they stand in their behaviors. Get resolve your differences in matters of
children's discipline. Support each other.
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