Dear Charise – My Wife and I are Divorcing because of Our Parenting Styles

Dear Charise,

My wife and I have constantly argued because we simply do not parent the same way and it has been a source of constant contention in our marriage. I parent my children with discipline, responsibility, and accountability. I know that you too, live in Orange County and I refuse (despite how much money we make) to have them grow up spoiled and as entitled little brats. My soon-to-be ex-wife on the other hand, enables their behaviors and makes excuses for them constantly. My daughters do not have to clean up after themselves and according to my wife, nothing is ever their fault. My wife and I are constantly fighting and we’ve even attended couples counseling for most of our marriage. We decided to find another therapist who could see our daughters as we go through this divorce, but he focused on our marriage and parenting, as opposed to our daughters. I am confused. This is why we are divorcing.

Sincerely,

My Wife and I are Divorcing because of Our Parenting Styles

 

Dear My Wife and I are Divorcing…

First, I am sorry to hear that you and your wife have come to this place in your marriage. I have had several clients come in to see me with your exact predicament and I, like the therapist you saw, focused on the parenting. I am aware that the differences in how you two parent is what triggered your divorce. However, just because you divorce, does NOT mean you two will not be parenting. So, regardless of the divorce, it is detrimental that you two co-parent and come to a middle ground. Especially, since they will be going through emotional turmoil with the divorce. I know what you are thinking, “Why would we try to find that middle ground now after we divorce, as opposed to while we were marriage?” My response is that maybe with the two of you not married, it may be easier to find the middle ground. You two will always have different parenting styles and that is OK. It is how you two utilize each other depending on your goals for your daughters that will be crucial. You and your ex will need to come together and formulate a list of goals for your daughters. Some will be more important to you and others, to your ex. Do not dismiss your ex’s desires – all goals for our children are valid. At that point, we can look at those goals and see which parent may lead the children through an easier process in achieving such goals. For instance, you would like your children to not be spoiled, entitled OC teenagers. That may not be high on the priority list for your ex, but it does need to be respected. She needs to come to the middle and allow you take your children to do humanitarian work if she doesn’t feel like that is something she can do. Another example is that your ex may have goals for your children to go to college. Respect that and look at ways in which you can assist or contribute to that goal the best that you can. There will be things that you do that may be more constructive than your ex and vice versa. Personality-wise and temperment is a different issue. I am much more rigid, disciplined, and tempermental. My husband, however is the opposite. But, we both work together recognizing the moments when either I need to intervene in a situation or he does. Look at both your strengths and know when to use them or when to ask your wife to contribute in specific situations.

The fact is, regardless of the divorce, you two still need to focus on parenting TOGETHER. No, your manner in how you parent may never align. But, a divorce does not negate that aspect of life when you have two daughters that you are trying to raise as being positive contributors to our larger community.

Warm Regards,

Charise

Charise Casiano

About Charise Casiano

Charise obtained her BA degree at California State University, Stanislaus and immediately pursued her MS degree at Mount Saint Mary’s College. During her college years, Charise left for one year to do missionary work. She traveled the United States troubleshooting with teenagers.