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Child custody: Unified rules could help kids, divorced parents

Many Massachusetts parents will agree that raising children is not always an easy task. Doing so can be even more difficult if the parents are divorced, and children are facing two separate households with differing rules and expectations. Though child custody disputes can strain relationships between parents, children need stability and structure when it comes to how they are parented. If one parent sets clear rules and the other does not, the potential for favoritism can arise.

Though one parent may wish to be the favorite parent, it may not be a healthy course for the child's relationship with the parents. In order to have a strong connection with both parents, it is important that certain rules are maintained for the child in both households. Designated times related to bedtime, television and homework are ones that should be uniform no matter which parent the child is staying with.

Parents should also avoid discussing the other parent negatively with or in front of their children. If children believe that their parents are against each other, they may be uncertain as to how to feel about their relationship with each parent. They may feel caught trying to please one parent by thinking badly of the other themselves, or it may cause them to feel like they must pick a favorite.

Though parents may fight and disagree when it comes to child custody, the best interests of the children involved are always the most important part. Parents should understand that providing a united front and working as a team, though divorced, when it comes to raising their children can bring stability to a child's life that could be very beneficial. Massachusetts parents who are having a difficult time during or after custody proceedings may find help through information on relevant laws dealing with their situation.

Source: Wicked Local Boxborough, Teamwork matters: 3 tips for better co-parenting, No author, August 14, 2013

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