Child Discipline in Co-parenting Situations

If you are co-parenting your children, discipline can be a different story than if you are living with the other parent. How can you effectively discipline your children when you are co-parenting?

If your relationship with the other parent is cooperative, the co-parenting plan can be a good place to specify what should take place when a child misbehaves. For example, you may say that timeouts or loss of privileges should be used to maintain consistency between the households.

Spanking or other forms of physical punishment should be avoided whether you believe that the practices are acceptable or not. Since the other parent is not in the home, they can easily misconstrue a simple swat on a padded behind into physical abuse. A vindictive parent may even send a child protective agency knocking on your door. If you are undergoing a child custody battle, using physical punishment can reflect badly on you.

Logical consequences are one effective form of discipline that is acceptable to the courts. An example of a logical consequence is if your child breaks your window, then the child must pay you for the replacement cost out of his or her allowance money.

Another acceptable form of discipline is denial of privileges. If the child does not follow the rules, then he or she doesn’t get to do an enjoyable activity such as playing outside for a certain period of time.

Be sure that the consequence is appropriate to the misdeed performed. You may get really angry when you see your child behaving like their other parent. Don’t take this out on the child since it is not his or her fault.

While you want to teach your child appropriate behavior, be sure to consider the possible repercussions of the consequences that you give. Even if you think your co-parent would never try to take you to court, circumstances can change and misunderstandings can easily arise.