It can be challenging for any parents — married or divorced — to agree on how their children should be raised. If you’re struggling to accept your ex’s parenting decisions or lack thereof, you may feel inclined to discuss the issue.
However, you should carefully consider whether the issue is worth “stirring the pot.” Here’s when a co-parenting issue is worth a potential conflict with your ex.
At one point or another, you’re likely to hear from your child that they don’t have to follow your rules when they stay at their other parent’s home. Examples of common house rules could include:
- Taking shoes off at the door
- Doing chores, such as cleaning dishes, making meals or doing laundry
- No running
- No throwing
- Where dinner or other food is eaten
- When permission is required
These issues are likely not worth discussing with your ex. Instead, this can be a learning opportunity for your child. Explain that different places may enforce different rules. For example, at school your child has rules about staying seated, raising their hand, asking to use the restroom, etc.
This issue can be a bit of a gray area. For example, you won’t be able to forbid your teen from dying their hair blue if they are allowed to do it at their other parent’s home.
When considering whether to discuss permanent rules with your ex, think on the importance of the issue. Does it have the potential to deeply impact your child’s happiness, safety or success? If yes, it’s probably worth a discussion.
For example, a parent may want to establish a no boy/girl sleepover rule for teens to prevent pregnancy. But, if the other parent disagrees, all you can do is explain the intent behind your rule and let your child make their own choice while in the other parent’s care.
Risk of danger
Most rules are made to protect children from emotional and physical harm or to propel their personal success. When the other parent’s rules or lack of rules presents an unprecedented risk of harm to your child, the problem should become a legal issue, rather than a discussion.
This could include a situation in which firearms, prescriptions, and other dangerous weapons or chemicals are not securely stored. You may also feel concerned about the safety of your child if they are not supervised by a trusted adult.