As more and more children experience high-conflict co-parenting, they not only get caught in the middle of conflict, but also in the middle of coddling. Why are high-conflict co-parents prone to coddling their children? Because they fear not being the preferred parent. They honestly fear losing their children to the wiles and ways of the manipulations of the other parent. Although most of the time that is irrational, there are cases where it does happen, so the fear makes sense even though it is a rare occurrence. Yet, we all know that children watch us intensely and base opinions on our behavior and character, not on others’ words. Even so, when a teen is promised a new car in exchange for choosing the best parent, who can blame the teen? So, how do these parents raise resilient adults in the face of this fear? Here are a few guidelines:
A 3-year-old is expected to throw a tantrum when he doesn’t get a cookie. An 8-year-old should not. Learn about how kids of different ages process information. If you have a high-conflict co-parenting situation, become an expert on child development so that you are not deceived!
Your house should mirror real life. What happens to an adult who defies authority? Jail, fines, community service, and probation. That translates into time-out, removing privileges, more chores, and a chance to regain trust. Pattern all of your discipline around these concepts and your children will make you proud (someday 🙂.
Throw away your need for image or perfection. Anyone who parents with the goal of pride or their own accolades will fail miserably. Kids are really good at picking up on that dynamic and will bring you down! Instead, parent from the perspective of losing them as a child when they are 18, but gaining them as a friend. What will you require of them to be self-sufficient, faithful friends?
Yeah. Do that.
For more helpful advice, listen at www.CPDilemmas.com or wherever you get your podcasts.