It’s interesting to notice the trends in the questions I receive from parents after my parenting workshops. Last year one of the most common questions I received was, “Am I too late to try all of this with my 18-year-old?”
This year, the number one question I receive, without a doubt, is, “How can I build values into my kids when my ‘ex’ is teaching something completely different in his/her house?” I probably hear that question at least twice in every city I speak.
What a great question. It’s difficult enough for two parents in the same home trying to raise kids today. Add a split home into the mix… it will take even more communication and more work.
After hearing this question a bazillion times, it dawned on me, I should probably get someone with experience in this situation to offer some help. So I called up my buddy Lane Palmer, one of our ministry’s writers, and asked if he could address this issue since he had been divorced, remarried, and only has partial custody of his two teenagers. He knows this situation all too well.
“For I hate divorce,” says the LORD, the God of Israel (Malachi 2:16)
And I can see why…
I was 35 at the time, with two kids aged 8 and 3. The separation and filing feel like a dark valley, but the real pain arrives when the final papers are signed and the realization hits home that you are now in the category of ‘divorced’.
The end of a marriage is enough of a challenge for any person to work through, but when you add a co-parenting responsibility with an ex-spouse who has a different philosophy of raising children; it can feel like an impossible road.
But it isn’t.
My children are now 20 and 17, and though the race is not completed, I can see the finish line. It probably comes as no surprise to you that these were some of the toughest years of my life, but graduating from the school of hard knocks is a valuable journey.
If you are in a similar situation, I have some encouraging news for you. Even if your co-parenting feels more like a full scale war because of the differing rules and discipline, there is hope if you consistently apply a few principles to your life…
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