How to Handle 4 Modern Co-Parenting Disputes
Parenting today is a lot different than it used to be. Social media now infiltrates children’s lives from a young age, there are different social pressures and awarenesses, parents face busier schedules balancing work and family life, and so much more.
These shifts in culture have made parenting a bit more challenging, and these challenges cross over to co-parenting. In a co-parenting situation, these issues may be even more evident as you try to balance things between two households while providing consistency for your kids.
Below, we’re discussing ways to handle four of the most common modern co-parenting disputes. Want the short answer? The common thread among all of our solutions is respectful, amicable communication.
Cellphones, Social Media, and Internet Privacy
One of today’s parents’ top concerns, especially for tweens and teenagers, is how to handle cellphone privileges and access to social media while maintaining internet privacy and ensuring your child’s safety. Family rules for digital technology should ideally be the same in both households. Allowing a cell phone at one house but not at another will be hard to manage, and adjusting guidelines around social media use between homes could lead to sneaky behavior.
Open, transparent communication to establish ground rules is the first step. If you can have a family meeting with you, your co-parent, and your children, you can explain what the rules are and how they’re intended to keep them safe. Showing your children a united front will help them understand that their technology rules are across the board, not just at one house or another.
Reassure your children that they can talk to both parents about anything they see online or over the phone that makes them feel uncomfortable or unsafe.
While global health emergencies weren’t on many people’s radars before 2020, we now know just how easily major pandemics can happen and how quickly they require major shifts in everyday lives.
It’s smart to include these kinds of topics and protocols in your family plan so there’s no disputing if and when they must come into play. You can include details such as:
- Who makes medical decisions on the child’s behalf – one particular parent or both?
- Your viewpoints on vaccines
- Daily precautions (avoiding those with fever or symptoms, wearing a mask, etc.)
- Whether homeschooling is an option in the event of another pandemic
- Response to a family diagnosis of an infectious disease (quarantine, etc.)
Kids today seem to be much more in tune with social issues that have been highlighted in everyday culture and the media. This generation’s children have grown up seeing the effects of issues such as school shootings and gun safety; a general increase in depression and anxiety; increasingly common illicit drug use, especially marijuana; racism and sexism; exploitative politics; and sexual assault. These are often hot-button topics, and there may be a difference in opinions between households.
Establishing some boundaries around what’s appropriate to talk about with the children is a good start. Being willing to have open and honest conversations with your kids is also essential. Especially if viewpoints differ, it’s important not to bash anyone or their point of view, but you can present the facts to your kids and allow them the space to develop their own viewpoints. Knowing they have a safe space to talk about these issues with both parents will ensure safety and open communication.
Busier Parent Schedules
Back in our parents’ (and their parents’) day, many families consisted of a father who worked and a mother who cared for the children and the household. Today, it’s far more common for both moms and dads to balance busy or constantly changing schedules between their respective careers, side hustles, children’s school activities, community involvement, family time, and social life. Ensuring your kids are still getting the time and attention they deserve between other activities is imperative.
Create your parenting plan with your schedules in mind. By working together, you can optimize the schedule to maximize the time your kids get with each parent while also giving each parent some free time.
Overcoming Co-Parenting Challenges with Mediation
Not all issues will be easy to overcome. When there’s a major difference in opinion and it’s affecting the co-parenting relationship or the child’s life, post-divorce mediation can be a helpful option to negotiate the dispute with the help of a trained mediator who can facilitate the conversation and help you reach an agreeable solution.
To start mediation, contact Natalie Baird Mediations and schedule a virtual appointment.