Splitting the ‘parenting week/weekend’

Separated parents who split the week/weekend (or one night a week and alternate weekends) will more likely experience differences in behaviour of their child and may find they use differing parenting styles.

‘Week’ Parent

Parents who have the ‘week’ responsibilities often feel they are the ones who do all the hard work and have to be the disciplinarian – dealing with school, homework, uniform and the early mornings.

Sometimes this parent may have a tendency to think of the other parent as the one who is experiencing all the good times with the child/ren. They are seen as the ‘luxury parent’ with whom your child seems to behave better. For some reason things just seem to be easier for them with the children – possibly this is linked with seeing them less. You might feel like the one who has to deal with the tired child in the morning, the upset child who comes back from the weekend with the other parent, the sad child before bed or the angry child during homework. You will wonder why you seem to be getting none of the perks of parenting.

‘Week-end’ Parent

If you are the parent who has the children at the weekend you will probably find that the other parent keeps telling you how to parent & manage your time with your child, i.e. help them with homework; brushing their teeth; teaching manners; less coca cola & sweets; please don’t buy them more toys, games etc.,. You will want to do as you please – perhaps spoil them – especially if you don’t see them as often as you would like. Time with your child is precious so you will want to do whatever you have planned. You may also believe that your child is perfectly fine and cannot see why the other parent is supposedly struggling with them. This is because you will be experiencing a ‘different’ child. During the week it can be hard for them – especially if you have just recently separated. They will probably be sad, angry and confused and this can be particularly challenging when they have to go to school, concentrate, do homework and have other pressures. They will be more tired and more likely to pick up sickness ‘bugs’. They may seem hard to ‘manage’, as they try to cope with all their difficult and unwanted feelings and thoughts.

At the weekend they will be more relaxed and seem more affable – being free from school, homework and the grind of the week. They will also be looking forward to seeing the other parent.

So please be kind to one another as parents. You will both have different experiences of your child. They may also be mirroring your feelings and difficulties as parents. As your little ‘bees’ they will be reflecting you  – uncannily so.