Should Parents Compete?

Battle of the Exes

Q: As a divorced mom of two teenage boys, I find it really hard to compete with my ex, who is the “fun” parent. I feel like I am always the one holding our boys to the rules while they are used to playing video games all day and watching TV all night. What can I do?”-Lidia 


A: Lidia, families with two homes are often, but not always, a struggle to balance. You are a different person than your ex, so your parenting style will also be different. There are a number of things at play here and while some solid counselling could be beneficial, I believe you can work through much of it yourself. 


Have you had a non-confrontational conversation with your ex about parenting? If not, this is a great place to start. If you can both agree that what is best for the boys should direct the decision making, then you’re more likely to agree on what rules are needed.


Have you talked to the boys about what is appropriate use of time? Video games and TV are designed to be addictive, so they will likely not change, but helping them see the need for balance may plant the seed in their heads about making better decisions for themselves.


Why are you competing with your ex? The sharing of your children isn’t a competition. If it feels that way to you, it may be because you either feel like you’re “losing” or you have a need to “beat” your ex, possibly because of whatever led to the dissolution of the marriage. 


Instead of competing, are you willing to take a higher road? One of the best things we can do for our children is set a positive example and create positive experiences. Be the best mom and co-parent you can be and hold the boys to the rules you set in your home. Take the boys into nature, for camping or a hike, or canoeing. They may resist at first, but there is a primal nature within all of us, that opens up when in nature. You can create special memories that you get to share with your boys forever.


To your question, “what can I do?” I’d reiterate the need to be yourself while setting a great example. Being your best is the best example you can offer them.



Combining over 30 years in the field of self-development, Rod is the CEO of the Certified Coaches Federation, one of the largest coach education companies in the world, and a speaker, coach and author. For more information on the Certified Coaches Federation, visit and for more information on Rod, visit  


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Categories: Emotional Health & Wellness