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Posted on in Parenting

fighting, parents Arlington Heights family law attorneyAs a divorced parent, you understand how difficult it can be to deal with your ex-spouse at times. No matter how amicable your split may have been—and may even still be for the most part—you are going to have disagreements from time to time. It is simply a part of life. Perfectly rational adults can have different viewpoints on certain issues, especially when it comes to what may or may not be best for children. Along those lines, you have probably been told that it is always a bad idea to fight in front of the kids; but that may not necessarily be the best advice. In fact, fighting the right way can even offer your children some insight into responsible problem-solving.

Of course, nobody is suggesting that a knock-down, drag-out fight between parents is a good thing for a child to see. On the other hand, there is nothing wrong with letting your child witness an occasional—and rational—exchange of differing opinions between you and your ex-spouse. It is important, though, to keep a few guidelines in mind to be sure that your child is not adversely affected in the process:

Set Topical Boundaries

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latchkey kid, single parent, parenting, Illinois family law attorney, divorce attorenyLatchkey kids. For many, these children live in single family homes either due to divorce or explanatory absence of one parent. The concept of latchkey kids dates back to World War II, when fathers left to serve and mothers entered war effort industries. Often awarded a key, dangling from a piece of string placed around their necks, latchkey kids arrived at an empty home and waited for mom to finish her shift. World War II moms often opted for the swing shift, requiring them to lock the door and slip off to work while their children slept. The country realized this was an issue, and promptly set up community centers where Latchkey Kids could safely await mom’s arrival.

These types of programs ended shortly after the war, leaving Americans still wondering how to work, support families and ensure the safety of their children. Sixty-nine years later, latchkey kids remain a societal issue of today’s generation.

Home Alone Act II

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parenting, children of divorce, parenting styles, Illinois divorce lawyer, reason for divorce, life after divorceOne of the biggest disagreements that can occur that parents have after a divorce is differences in parenting styles and boundaries. What’s acceptable at Mom’s house is forbidden at Dad’s – or visa-versa.

Issues such as bedtimes, appropriate television shows and the amount of television watched, video games and diet are just some of the areas where co-parents may disagree. There are ways to navigate frustrations that may crop up, which is especially important for the emotional well-being of the child. Remember to keep in mind that sometimes children play parents against each other in an effort to get the rules stretched. If your child says that they are allowed to do something at the other parent’s house that you don’t allow – for example staying up very late on a school night - check with the other parent to see if that activity is allowed on a regular basis or if it was just a one-time event. If you find out that there are things you disagree with that are allowed at the other parents house, don’t react angrily about it with your child. Calmly explain that the rules in your house are different. It’s important to accept that there are going to be things that you and your ex-spouse totally disagree on when it comes to raising your children, but remember that you both are committed to what’s best for your child. Differences in punishment can be particularly difficult to navigate, especially if one parent is stricter than the other. The use of corporal punishment by one parent can quickly escalate into a custody battle with the other parent citing child abuse. In Illinois, the law defines acts of child abuse when a parent or caregiver "inflicts excessive corporal punishment" but this law does not clearly define what constitutes "excessive." If you are concerned that the discipline techniques used by your ex-spouse on your child are harsh or excessive, contact an experienced Arlington Heights family law attorney today to find out what options you have to protect your child.
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