Disciplining Your Child During Your Divorce
Key Points
  • During divorce children will pick up on disciplinary discrepancies between parents. Make sure you both subscribe to the same disciplinary methods when it comes to parenting.
  • Keep a consistent method of discipline during and after divorce. Trying to agree at least on discipline may help for a united front and lessen negative behavior.

You and the other parent should always maintain and reinforce the same disciplinary methods. If one parent decides to institute a new rule, it should be discussed with the other parent prior to implementation. A parenting agreement will often have a section that addresses the disciplinary standards, so each parent is following the same rules for all disciplinary measures.

Parents can run into many difficulties when one parent is delivering a harsher punishment or the contrary, no punishment at all. A child will quickly catch on to one parent being more lenient, and often times that parent will become a scapegoat for the child. The child will say things like, "mom lets me do that at the dinner table", or "If I were at dads house he would not care if I stayed up and watched a movie". As you can tell, from the examples mentioned, the child has begun to play one parent against the other. This type of behavior by the child will hurt the parenting relationship. If your child does begin to make comparisons like the examples above, do not jump to any conclusions until you have spoken directly to the other parent. Your child can easily make up a quick story to try to get what he or she wants, so you may find that your child is deceiving you.

Once you do have an agreement about the disciplinary actions, sticking by them will create a sense of trust between you and the other parent. When you share knowledge and experiences about your child, you must tell both good and bad, along with what disciplinary action was or was not implemented.

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Suggested Reading
Creating a Successful Parenting Plan Creating a Successful Parenting Plan
This extraordinary book and computer disk offers separating or divorcing parents a sure-fire way to create a workable, practical parenting plan/agreement that is in the best interest of their children.

Author: Jayne A. Major, Ph.D.

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