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How can co-parents establish common ground concerning discipline?

The way that two parents wish to discipline their children can vary drastically. In fact, differences of opinion about child rearing and discipline have contributed to numerous divorces.

Since this is a potential area of disagreement that could give rise to unwanted post-divorce conflict between the parents, divorcing parents may want to include specific language within their parenting agreements to address differences in parenting styles. At a minimum, parents may want to include language addressing the following:

-- The parents are separately responsible for providing discipline for the children while they are with that parent.

-- If a disciplinary issue shows up that requires continued attention, the parent who becomes aware of the disciplinary issue first will inform the other parent about it so they can decide together how to handle it.

-- Neither parent will allow third parties to use physical discipline or corporal punishment against the child.

-- Disciplinary measures taken by one parent cannot interfere or conflict with the parenting time of the other parent. In this respect, disciplinary measures cannot deprive the child and the other parent of spending time with one another. The only exception to this rule is if both parents agree that it's appropriate given the nature of the situation at hand.

Each of the above pieces of language can be inserted into the parenting agreement to ensure that both parents are on the same page regarding discipline. Such family law provisions will support the parents in being true "co-parents" as it will be able to help them present a united front to their children in all disciplinary matters.

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