What if my "ex" won't apply the same rules at his/her house?
Divorce is painful for everyone involved, but most agree that the children involved are almost always the ones who are left the most vulnerable. As a parent, it’s essential to do everything you can to insure that Walls are not created that would hinder their growth spiritually and emotionally. In such situations, it’s often impossible for one parent to control the environment when the child is with the other parent, but there are steps that can be taken. Consider the following:
- Be sensitive to your child’s pain, but don’t compound that pain by removing boundaries from his or her life. It may feel kind at first to “loosen the reigns” after all you’ve been through, but kids need to know their boundaries during times of uncertainty more than ever.
- If at all possible, seek to come to an agreement on the foundational boundaries that will be enforced in the homes of both parents. If possible, you might seek input from the other parent. Offer to enforce those boundaries that are most critical in his or her life.
- Even if your “ex” refuses to fulfill the role of “Trainer,” you must stand by the rules of your own household. Emphasize the “whys” of your boundaries, and stay the course. Even when the same rules aren’t in place at the other home, your child will continue to at least understand why the boundaries are important to you.
- If at all possible, don't talk negatively about one of the children's parents in front of the kids, or force the children to choose sides between their parents. Remember that children love both parents and naturally want to be loyal to both. Allow children to maintain the closest relationships possible with each parent.
- If you don't have custody of your children, keep in contact with them as frequently as possible - through e-mail, phone calls, and more beyond regular visits. When you do get to visit, maintain the same level of discipline your children receive with the custodial parent, and don't feel pressure to buy their affection through expensive outings or material things. Simply give them the gift of time and attention. Also, be sure to faithfully pay child support to help meet your children's needs.
Sharing the parental role with an “ex” can be frustrating and confusing at times. Recognizing the importance of fulfilling your role as Inspirer, Trainer, and Reflector will help you better define why you have Household Boundaries in place. It doesn’t mean life is always easy, but your child will one day thank you for filling the role to which you are called.