Inside Madonna and Ex Guy Ritchie’s Co-Parenting Breakdown – Yahoo Parenting

Madonna’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, “wants Rocco to have the confidence he lacked growing up and thinks Madonna’s stern parental style is counterproductive.” The British filmmaker struggled with severe dyslexia as a child, and, the source added, “The welfare of Rocco is Guy’s priority.”

STORY: Madonna’s Teenager Troubles: When Rebels Become Strict Parents

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 mother’s request that he return home to New York City for the holidays. That sent Madonna to a justice of the N.Y. Supreme Court’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, “I’m staying here, bro,” via Instagram, from which the teen then blocked his mom. A hearing on Rocco’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 “too controlling” and that she tries to “micromanage” her children’s lives.

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Plenty of divorced celebrity couples have displayed their harmonious co-parenting skills recently — 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?

“They’ve got to find a way to reasonably come together on the bigger pieces,” Jeremy Gaies, a Florida-based clinical psychologist and family mediator, tells Yahoo Parenting. “So if one seems very punitive and one doesn’t, that’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 it’s a mess” — kind of like it appears to be for the pop star and her son.

“It’s possible to be an entertainer and a good mother!!!” 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, “is never the way to go.” And co-parenting teenagers, as opposed to younger kids, he says, takes some serious work and focus. “Teens are going through their own developmental stages, and it’s important for parents to try to remember back to what that means — and to understand how it’s different now, mainly because of technology and because of how important their phones and social media are to them.”

Further, notes Gaies, “Teens often do not like the hassles of having to move from place to place when parents live in two different homes.” When kids are little, though it’s difficult, you just transport them back and forth yourselves. “But with teens, it’s difficult when you are pulling them away from their friends.”

“Love conquers all,” the superstar wrote in the caption to this throwback photo on Instagram. (Photo: Instagram)

In addition, teenagers in general have “difficulty complying with Mom and Dad’s say,” so split-up parents must figure out how to strike the balance of “getting input from their child without giving them the responsibility of having to make the decisions — because that just puts them in the middle between Mom and Dad.”

For the sake of the child, the therapist advises, “You’re going to have to find some common ground and learn how to compromise — and if you can’t do that on your own, then you’ve got to sit down and negotiate with a professional. You can’t just be in a tug of war.” 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 “have someone who could help them sit down and work it out and not go through the courts.” He advises all parents in this situation: “Get it resolved behind closed doors, and let your kids live their lives.”

Top photo: Gary Miller/Getty Images

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