08.1 What to Know
Do you and the mother of your children live apart? Are the two of you divorced, separated, or never married? Do you have full, joint, or no custody of your children?
No matter your answers, raising your children together when you don’t live together is called “co-parenting” or “shared parenting.”
Parenting together for the sake of your children is so vital. And yet, it is one of the hardest things to get right. Even if you’re living with her, parenting together is still hard! That’s why you can use what you’ll learn in this topic no matter whether you live with her or not, or are married to her or not.
Reflect on your answers to these two questions:
What are the main issues between you and the mother of your children in raising your children?
What problems do those issues cause?
If you’re like most parents, there are issues between you. Two things can lead to those issues:
Different styles of parenting
Different approaches to parenting
Which one do you think causes the most issues and leads to most problems? If you said “approaches,” you’re right!
Different styles are different kinds or types of something. Men and women are different kinds of parents—they have different styles. (You can learn more about these styles in the Fathering Skills topic.) These styles can sometimes clash, such as when a mom becomes concerned when a dad plays in a rough and tumble way with their children.
Different approaches are different ways to go about doing a task or solving a problem. Although differences in parenting styles can lead to problems between parents, it’s different approaches to parenting that cause major problems between parents. The reason is beliefs, morals, and values lead to different approaches.
Let’s take values as an example. Values are the things people think are important and have worth. A different value can cause a major problem. Let’s say mom and dad don’t place the same value on their children going to college. That could lead to fights and cause them to place a different value on saving money for college. And that could lead to fights over whether and where to spend their extra income. It’s easy to see how their different approaches can lead to one problem after another.