How many different parenting styles do you think a Google search can come up with? There seems to be four styles most talked about: Authoritarian, Authoritative, Permissive, and Uninvolved. But, I also found a host of others: Positive Parenting, Attachment, Unconditional, Spiritual, Slow, Helicopter, Narcissistic, and the list goes on and on. My goal here is not to give you an overview of each parenting style (you can do your own ‘google-ing’). Rather, I’d like to give you some tips on what to do when you and your partner disagree on how to parent. With so many different styles it is no wonder two people may have disagreements on the best way to parent a situation. If you think only you and your partner are the only ones who encounter conflict about parenting, I hope this blog post gives you some reprieve.
One thing to remember, these tips have more to do with the way you and your partner treat one another than they do about parenting the ‘right’ way.
Allow your partner to parent.
I get it. You think your way is the best way. You might even go a bit further and think your partner’s way of doing something is ludicrous. Unless something incredibly unsafe/abusive is taking place, let your partner be a parent. This may mean letting your kids play in the mud, even if you’re a germaphobe. It could even mean allowing them to participate in an activity that is outside the comfort zone of what you grew up in (think arts instead of sports). Allowing your partner to be a parent not only increases their confidence in who they are as a mom or dad, but it also lowers their defenses against you when you parent a little differently than they’d prefer.
Be on the same team (at least in front of the kids).
If you already have kids then you know their ultimate goal is to divide and conquer (slightly exaggerated, but only slightly). Fighting in front of the kids gives them room to wedge in between the two of you and realign alliances. This doesn’t necessarily mean you always agree. In fact, when you don’t agree it provides an excellent opportunity to have a discussion in front of the kids and have them watch you come to a compromise together. Modeling is the ultimate parenting tool.
Attitude is everything.
Resentment can kill a marriage, but it can also kill the respect kids have for a parent. If your kids are constantly hearing you put down one another, criticize one another, and invalidate one another then guess how they will begin responding? Again, modeling is key to good parenting. It is important to treat each other the way you want your kids to begin learning how to treat people.
Be open to influence.
One of the best parenting resources my wife and I have is our small group at church. It’s full of parents in the same position we are in and it has been a life saver (or at least a sanity saver) to share our struggles and victories. Maybe you have friends or a mentor couple you can turn to when you and your partner find it difficult to reach a middle ground. Seek their input. Be open to their influence. Don’t have any friends to reach out to? Google is a great resource to find parenting groups and classes around you. Or, feel free to give us a call. We have a full staff ready to help you understand your parenting style and learn new techniques to better equip yourself to raise kind, successful children. Our number is 832-421-8714 or you can email us here.