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Negotiating house rules when there are two homes

Tennessee parents who are divorced will need to negotiate various aspects of child-rearing. One of the things parents will need to discuss and reach an agreement on are the house rules that will be in effect. For some parents, this seems like an impossibility, while others might change rules just to spite their ex. The problem, however, is that in cases where parents cannot come to an agreement, the ones who tend to suffer and be marked by this are the children.

Having one set of house rules that are in effect in both parents' homes provides stability, structure, order and predictability for children who are already trying to maneuver through the life-altering changes a divorce brings. To begin this process, experts recommend that parents meet face-to-face to reach a consensus on certain house rules, such as the hour for bedtime, video games that are acceptable or the limits in what type of clothing their children can wear. Parents might also confer with a mediator, who can provide balanced, neutral feedback and offer guidance and suggestions for the parents to reach an agreement.

Because setting up house rules is a negotiation, parents should also learn to give and take during the process. They should be ready to concede in certain areas that are very important to their ex-spouse in order to gain in the areas that they feel are most important.

Taking a parenting class might also help both parents implement these new house rules and stick to the agreement. If negotiations fail and the parents cannot agree, they can also head to court and have a judge decide. This can be a risk, however, as people are often surprised by a judge's rulings.

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