Whether you were ever married to the other parent of your child or not, does not change the dynamics. Whether it is called visitation or parenting time, it is your time to be a parent. If you were still with the other parent: you would be supervising your child’s homework and test studying; driving your child to and from activities and friends; ensuring your child keeps his or her room clean, cleans up after meals, etc.; you would be giving your child money for activities; hosting your child’s friends. Just because you are no longer with the parent, this should not change.
The fact that you pay child support does not alter your still giving your child money. You still should have an entire set of clothes and supplies for your child in your home. Your child needs to feel he or she is home at your house. You want it called parenting time, so do not make the child feels like a visitor by not having every comfort of home for him or her at your house. If you make the child pack clothes and supplies for when with you, and have to pack up when leaving, you make your child feel like nothing more than a visitor rather than your child being part of your family in your home.
If the other parent is unable to co-parent, and enforce discipline for problems in your house upon return, and may even try to undermine you, you need to be less strict. Tough love will blow in your face in this type of scenario. If your rules are 180 degrees different than the primary parent’s home, you will cause problems in transition and in your relationship. Even if your rules are better than the primary home. Even lessons all children must learn, you will cause problems by trying to impose it, if the other parent does not co-parent.
Nothing will ever come close to being 100% of what it should be or of what we want or wish it to be, but 85 % is great! So, don’t be a stickler, be flexible, you’ll have less problems and your child will be happier, not to mention less lawyer bills. On my website, click here you will find a link for a great book to help you cope with a parent who refuses to co-parent and keep the animosity down for the benefit of your child.