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Parenting During Shared Custody


I’m a parent educator who has completed the Boys Town CSP Training. What do I tell a mother who has trouble parenting her two young teenage girls because she has shared custody of them and only sees them on weekends? Thank you.



Thanks for writing in with this great question. It seems that more and more, families are divided. It is tough enough blending parenting styles when the parents are together. After putting distance and conflicts between them, it becomes even more difficult.

When faced with this question, it is often answered in this way: “We must realize that we have no control over the other parent.” When they are in charge, no matter what we say to them, they will or will not do whatever they want. We suggest that you work extra hard when you are in charge, teaching your children how to behave in situations in which they may find themselves when they are with the other parent. Using “kid reasons” is even more important in helping them understand why and how it will benefit them to do it the way you are teaching. It is all about preparing them to make good choices. It is not about who gives them the choice or who is there to guide them. There won’t always going be someone there, so they have to learn to self-discipline.

Because you have talked to them about “kid reasons” and ​teaching kids to become “self-disciplined” during your first session, it is good to tie these things back into your responses to their questions to help them recognize how all of this information can be useful in the day-to-day issues they face.

It is good to hear that you are out there still teaching parents and giving them the tools they need to become more effective with their children. Write in anytime; we love to hear from folks like you.