Few parents find it easy to discipline their children. But problems of moody teenagers and setting reasonable curfews can be compounded when parents are not on the same side.
Thousands of children in Michigan split their time between divorced parents, and several former couples still retain resentment between each other after a difficult or lengthy divorce process. Most children go through a phase of setting parents against each other to make their lives easier, but this puerile attitude can become real when parents are all too ready to seize on each other's possible vulnerabilities.
A recent story out of the Wolverine State took the internet by storm: A mother was allegedly arrested for the theft of her 15-year-old daughter's cellphone. But the story wasn't entirely as it seemed because the charges stemmed from a call to the police by the woman's ex-husband.
Once prosecutors learned the defendant was the mother of the minor in question, they requested the charges be dropped. The case raised questions about the possible toxic relationship between divorced parents, especially since it echoed a similar situation recently in Texas.
Both cases involved parents who took cellphones away as a disciplinary measure. "Parents sometimes take the position that because one parent bought the phone, that parent should be able to determine whether the child uses the phone," said an attorney with experience in family law.
Parents who are facing a difficult relationship with ex-spouses may feel the need to spell out expectations in an alimony agreement, child support requirements document and/or a child custody agreement. Legal representation can help parents reduce conflict and put their children first.