The single parent families lifestyle is a unique and interesting one. This is especially true in the case of shared custody, because it is almost like the children are living a double life. This lifestyle is not easy for adults, let alone for a child, so the pressures on single parent families and their lifestyle is often greater than on other families, even if both parties love the kids.
The Duality of the Single Parent Families Lifestyle
Living completely different lives with mom or dad during the week is taxing on everyone, especially on the child. Yet it is a lifestyle that has to be faced if you truly love them, and you need to do the best for your child and the family.
Here are three areas you can work on to try and minimize the potentially destructive nature of the single parent families lifestyle…
Divide and Conquer Parents
Kids are great at doing this, especially in a messy or nasty separation situations, and this can be a difficult lifestyle to deal with. Kids are experts at dividing and conquering the parents even in regular families, playing mom off against dad to get what they want. This is even more extreme for separated parents because the parents are already divided!
The solution: Start communicating with your ex and present a united front on the key issues. If you can’t stand each other, it’s time to make a decision that you love the kids enough to put them first and at least start texting! If you communicate you can make sure that the child is not playing one of you off against the other and avoid a tragedy people and unaware couples in your situation face daily!
Disciplining verses Fun
Another unique single parent families lifestyle trait is when one just has fun while the other gets the reputation of being the discipline enforcer. This can happen even in marriage or if couples stay together, so how much more for you. But type of arrangement is doomed, so again, start talking to your ex and share both the load and the good times. You may not love them and the relationship may be over but if you love your offspring it is time to do it for them! And if you are the fun one you may think you are doing well, but in the important issues your son or daughter will turn to the other adult, so beware of this and share the load!
Once again communication is the key. You need to make sure that your rules are consistent between the two households. They also have to be consistent, so that the child knows if they do something at either house, the consequences will be the same. If this doesn’t happen, you will find that the kids take advantage of this and run riot at one of the homes.
So, communicating with your ex-partner is the key, and forming a united front on the big issues is essential if your kids are to do well in life. Failure to address these will result in you seeing all the bad aspects of the single parent families lifestyle in your sons and daughters as they grow up, and who wants that!