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Learning to parent together after divorce: Communication is key

You and your spouse divorced because you could no longer agree on anything from what to eat for dinner to how to raise your child. You were both tired of fighting and were done with the stress of living in such a negative situation.

The trouble is, even though you've separated and divorced, you still have the responsibility of raising your child. You can't ignore that you don't agree on how to do so. Fortunately, there are some tips that can help you.

When raising kids apart, communication is key

Even though you and your spouse don't yet agree on how to raise your kids or have differences when it comes to things like penalties and punishments, you can find common ground. The most important thing to do is to make sure you stay in communication with each other.

It would be smart for both of you to sit down together to talk about your personal parenting styles when raising your children. From there, you'll see what you disagree on and what you agree on. Start with what you agree on and go from there.

For example, if you agree that you'll raise your child in the Christian religion, that's a good place to start when talking about it. You might disagree on the church, the beliefs or other aspects, but finding that first piece of common ground is a good place to start.

Another issue may be if you have different parenting styles. One of you may like your kids to be more independent and to make mistakes, while the other may be more apt to punish children who don't listen or follow the rules. In that situation, it may be smart to talk about a set of rules that should apply in both homes and circumstances under which you'd like your child to be more independent or to have the chance to make mistakes and learn for themselves.

For instance, one parent may be angry and penalize a child who gets poor grades at school, while the other believes that poor grades come with their own consequences that their child will learn to understand on their own. You both might sit down and decide what kinds of grades are acceptable and when penalties might apply for poor work.

For parenting issues, mediation can be a good place to talk them through and come up with solutions, since a third party is there to give another perspective. You can speak with your attorney if you are having issues with your parenting styles clashing after divorce.

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