Consistency Between Divorced Parents
If you and the other parent are divorced or otherwise separated, chances are you'll have a much tougher time with consistency. After all, if you're divorced, you probably have pretty different values and may not be friendly or even be able to talk to each other.
Doing Your Best
If you're one of the lucky divorced parents who can have a peaceful conversation with an ex, try having an initial conversation as described above. Then, ask your ex if she has any concerns or observations to contribute. Hopefully, you're both aware of major issues already.
Next, show your ex the list of rewards, rules, and consequences you've devised for your own home. Say, “I want to share with you the rewards, rules, and consequences that I've set up for my house. They might work for you, or they might not. If you think they would, or if you think we could make similar rules for both of our houses, it would probably go a long way to helping solve this behavior problem and making both our lives easier. You can get back to me later if you want.” Allow your ex time to think about this instead of forcing an answer on the spot.
If you think your ex will resist working with you, enlist the help of a third party, such as a child psychologist, who can serve as a go-between and point of balance so that neither parent feels the other is trying to gain control over the situation. You can each work on a list of rules separately with a psychologist and finalize a finished product that satisfies everyone.
Finally, if your ex won't join in with a third party, you may have to go it alone. You will probably benefit from regular meetings with a psychologist who can support and guide you. Don't despair — your child will learn that you can be consistent, and that you care enough to do whatever is in your power to help him. It may take longer, but with time your own consistency will develop its own power, and your child will gain increased trust in you.