How to raise a child when two parents do not get along with one another



can last years and can even impact your child's ability to form healthy, trusting relationships as an adult.

2. Feeling like the other parent is undermining what you are trying to do: often times in these situations a dynamic gets set up where there is a "good parent" and a "bad parent". Generally the "good parent" lets their teenager do what they want and does not have a lot of rules or consequences while the "bad parent" attempts to maintain rules and structure for their teenager. In these situations, it is really important that both parents figure out a way to come to SOME agreement about rules and expectations. Sometimes this can be done through a third party (therapist, friend, etc) but it is critical that it get done. When doing this, pick the things that really matter and allow yourself to let some other things go. For example: it would be important for parents to agree that their teen must be getting passing grades or else there will be consequences while it may be okay for parents to not agree on how neat their teenager needs to keep their room in each of their homes if they are living separately.

3. Feeling like your teenager should know what the other parent is doing or did: parents often feel like it is important for their teenager to know that the other parent only visits with them because they are mandated to do so or that they are not paying what they are supposed to be paying each month. In some situations, parents feel like they need to tell their teenager all the awful things that the other parent did to them. In these situations, who is really benefiting from your telling your teenager these things? Usually, it is the parent who is benefiting because they are reacting to strong, negative emotions they are feeling. What I have found over the years is that in the end, teenagers and young adults know what is going on and ultimately know which parent is consistent and which one is not. In addition, I have found that teenagers become very resentful of parents who bad mouth one another (even if what is being said is true) because it causes them a lot of confusion and feelings of betrayal by both parents. Teenagers will figure this out over time and will be much better off if they see that their two parents are able to be civil and respectful of one another while in their presence.

Of course if you ever truly believe someone is doing something that harmful, illegal or significantly damaging to your child you should take immediate steps to make sure your child is safe. The above described parenting situations can be very difficult and emotionally draining and sometimes last for a prolonged period of time. If you are a parent experiencing such difficulties in parenting consistently with your child's other parent, it is important that you get support for yourself so that you can both take care of yourself and be strong for your child.

© 2009 Elite Life Coaching

For more information on Life Coaching or coaching for parents please visit [] or email

My name is Karen Vincent. I am a Certified Life Coach as well as a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker with a Masters Degree from Boston University. I have worked with teenagers / adolescents and their parents for the last 15 years in a variety of settings, including outpatient therapy, specialized schools, and in the home.

I have developed and conducted numerous parenting classes and support workshops specific to parents of teens. I have also created and presented training for professional staff including teachers, therapists and counselors who work with adolescents in Massachusetts, Connecticut and in New York City.


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