Last Night When I My Homework The Lights Out Avoid a Second Trip to Divorce Court

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Avoid a Second Trip to Divorce Court

Co-parenting with your new partner will be one of the hardest things you will ever attempt. In fact, two out of three second marriages fail within the first five years. The good news is that once you get past that point, second marriages are statistically stronger than first marriages. The question is: How do you become the one in three that lasts? Ask any marriage counselor and they’ll probably tell you to put your relationship first. That seems like a no-brainer, but what does it mean? Telling someone to just focus on their marriage is too vague to help at all.

How about a couple that makes it

Obviously there is no magic bullet; But there are steps you can take right now to strengthen your stepfamily. I’m going to share what I believe to be the #1 most important key to success. To narrow the topic and offer some concrete and practical tips, I’m going to focus on one aspect of a couple’s relationship that is particularly relevant to parenting.

So here it is, my #1 strategy: Get on the same page!

Your parenting style

You and your partner have developed parenting styles over time. Your relationship with your children started with instant love and your parenting style evolved as your children went through different stages. As this foundation develops, some of your rules and expectations take root.

Your new partner’s parenting style

Now let’s flash forward. You are in a new relationship that also has children. Like you, he or she has developed a parenting style and established his or her own rules and expectations. Merging your two styles can be harder than you think. While it’s important to be on the same page regarding your overall parenting philosophy and big-picture goals, it’s just as important that you consider the seemingly mundane routines of life. Some of these include: bedtimes, mealtimes, personal hygiene, chores and allowances, and academic expectations (just to name a few).

Prevent mole-hills from becoming mountains

These “small” details can sneak up as pet peeves and become a full-blown wedge between you and your partner (by the way, kids can smell a wedge a mile away). The key is to consider the details Before They become a problem. Create a game plan for how and when to adjust your expectations. There are many variables that affect your decisions, such as the ages of your children, whether or not the children live with you, your relationship with the other parent, etc. You may not want to change some things. That’s fine, but be prepared to explain to your kids why there is one expectation for them and another for a group of other kids.

To get started, try this exercise:

First, identify your expectations for each bulleted item below. Next, have your partner list his/her expectations on a separate sheet of paper. Now identify areas of agreement and disagreement. The goal at this point is not to agree on everything, but rather, to identify areas where you have different beliefs and values ​​so that you can make informed decisions about how to move forward.

  • Bedtime ritual: How strict is the time, (does 8:00 mean 8:00, or does it mean 8:15 or 8:30? Where do the kids sleep, when is “lights out”, what about stories, etc.
  • food: Where do we eat, what if someone doesn’t like the food, breakfast, what do we eat or not eat for dinner? How much is enough or too much, what about snacking?
  • Cleanliness: How often do babies bathe, night or morning, how long is the shower, what about teeth, feet, hair, clothes?
  • Works and Allowances: Are there children’s chores? At what age do they start, are boys and girls expected to do the same? How to distribute money linked to work?
  • Academic expectations: Is a “C” good enough, who checks homework and how, what are the consequences for poor performance or behavior?

Help is available! These are just a few thoughts. For guidance on how to go about this process and to help you find a middle ground, email me to schedule a consultation. Together we can decide if a parenting coach is right for your stepfamily.

(c) 2009 Blackwell Family Resources, LLC All rights reserved

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