Inside Madonna and Ex Guy Ritchie’s Co-Parenting Breakdown – Yahoo Parenting
Madonnaâ€™s custody battle with ex-husband Guy Ritchie over their teenage son, Rocco, has not let up, with opposing parenting styles reportedly at the root of the tension.
Ritchie, according to an anonymous source in People magazine this week, â€œwants Rocco to have the confidence he lacked growing up and thinks Madonnaâ€™s stern parental style is counterproductive.â€ The British filmmaker struggled with severe dyslexia as a child, and, the source added, â€œThe welfare of Rocco is Guyâ€™s priority.â€
After traveling with his celebrity mom on her Rebel Heart tour and then heading to see his dad in London, the 15-year-old refused his motherâ€™s request that he return home to New York City for the holidays. That sent Madonna to a justice of the N.Y. Supreme Courtâ€™s civil branch, who ruled that Rocco must be back in NYC in time to start school this week. But he refused, telling a friend, â€œIâ€™m staying here, bro,â€ via Instagram, from which the teen then blocked his mom. A hearing on Roccoâ€™s future is scheduled for Feb. 3, and Ritchie, who divorced Madonna in 2008, has reportedly hired a lawyer in preparation.
Madonna and Ritchie in 2008. (Photo: Ferdaus Shamim/WireImage/Getty Images)
According to the Ritchie source in People, Rocco thinks his Manhattan private school is elitist and wants to spend time with his friends in London. Previously, an unnamed source told the New York Post that Rocco simply finds his mom to be â€œtoo controllingâ€ and that she tries to â€œmicromanageâ€ her childrenâ€™s lives.
Plenty of divorced celebrity couples have displayed their harmonious co-parenting skills recently â€” Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony, Heidi Klum and Seal, and Hilary Duff and Mike Comrie, for example. So how can Madonna and Ritchie, as well as all the noncelebrity parents out there, come to some form of peace when they have such different takes on parenting?
â€œTheyâ€™ve got to find a way to reasonably come together on the bigger pieces,â€ Jeremy Gaies, a Florida-based clinical psychologist and family mediator, tells Yahoo Parenting. â€œSo if one seems very punitive and one doesnâ€™t, thatâ€™s not going to work. It will just set up a situation where the teen pulls away from one of the parents and becomes estranged, and itâ€™s a messâ€ â€” kind of like it appears to be for the pop star and her son.
â€œItâ€™s possible to be an entertainer and a good mother!!!â€ Madonna wrote in a caption for this family photo on Instagram recently. (Photo: Instagram)
A power play over a child, says Gaies, the co-author of Mindful Co-Parenting, â€œis never the way to go.â€ And co-parenting teenagers, as opposed to younger kids, he says, takes some serious work and focus. â€œTeens are going through their own developmental stages, and itâ€™s important for parents to try to remember back to what that means â€” and to understand how itâ€™s different now, mainly because of technology and because of how important their phones and social media are to them.â€
Further, notes Gaies, â€œTeens often do not like the hassles of having to move from place to place when parents live in two different homes.â€ When kids are little, though itâ€™s difficult, you just transport them back and forth yourselves. â€œBut with teens, itâ€™s difficult when you are pulling them away from their friends.â€
â€œLove conquers all,â€ the superstar wrote in the caption to this throwback photo on Instagram. (Photo: Instagram)
In addition, teenagers in general have â€œdifficulty complying with Mom and Dadâ€™s say,â€ so split-up parents must figure out how to strike the balance of â€œgetting input from their child without giving them the responsibility of having to make the decisions â€” because that just puts them in the middle between Mom and Dad.â€
For the sake of the child, the therapist advises, â€œYouâ€™re going to have to find some common ground and learn how to compromise â€” and if you canâ€™t do that on your own, then youâ€™ve got to sit down and negotiate with a professional. You canâ€™t just be in a tug of war.â€ At the very least, Gaies adds, do some research and read a co-parenting book. Madonna and Ritchie, he would hope, have enough resources to â€œhave someone who could help them sit down and work it out and not go through the courts.â€ He advises all parents in this situation: â€œGet it resolved behind closed doors, and let your kids live their lives.â€
Top photo: Gary Miller/Getty Images