Strategies to Discipline with your children while Co-Parenting:
Talk about the consequences prior to carrying out the discipline:
If a discipline issue comes up on a transition day or should be carried out during the other parent's time, you can both agree to talk to one another before the consequence is given. You can make the decision together.
Let the consequence wait:
You can agree not to give an immedicate consequence. Sometimes the not knowing part is the worse than the actual punishment.
Form a united front:
In order to present this united front, a decision needs to be made early regarding whether you can work together and form a united front with respect to shared boundaries and disciplinary guidelines for your child. If you are at the beginning of your co-parenting journey, mediation or a session with a family therapist with your ex-partner can be helpful to discuss topics such as how to manage differences in disciplinary approaches, even when you disagree with the disciplinary actions or decisions you are backing up!
The aim is to come out of this session with some ground rules for you and your ex-partner when it comes to discipline. These may include agreed upon acceptable consequences, how you want to communicate about your child’s behavior and the expectations that you can both honor when your children are with you. This shows your children that when it comes to parenting, you are working together and nothing has changed.
Golden Rules to Discipline:
Never criticize the other co-parent
Set aside your own emotions about your ex and do what is in the best interest of the child
Successful co-parenting where discipline is concerned requires respect for your co-parent, no matter what has happened prior. If nothing else, it is about remembering that the other co-parent is important to your child. When we have someone that we dislike, it is easy to reject or criticize the way in which they deal with things. The danger is that when your the other parent makes a decision around discipline, you reject it without a thought.
Understanding that not everyone has an easy co-parent partner and if the other parent won’t continue the discipline you have laid out, you can either wait to exercise the discipline or have a discussion with the other parent about what discipline they think would be effective.
Trust your instincts and do the best you can. Ultimately, the more consistent you can be in your home and your ex can be in theirs, the more secure your children will feel. If you and the other parent can work together to teach good values to your children and they learn right from wrong, there are no better co – parents than that.