Parenting Style – Do You and Your Spouse Differ?

Parenting Style – Do You and Your Spouse Differ?


By The Marriage & Family Clinic

How do you make it work?

Disagreements in parenting can be very difficult to navigate. It is one of the common complaints I hear from couples that I work with. One pulls in one direction, your partner pulls the other direction, and your kiddo gets conflicting messages. Which inevitably leads to your child acting out. And that brings up more conflict between you and your partner. And round and round you go.

Here are some things you can do to bridge that gap and find more balance in your parenting:

Know Where Your Style Comes from
Your personal history will influence your parenting style. That is why so many people are very rigid about their parenting style. Your view of your family and yourself influences your parenting.  It is important to be able to talk vulnerably with your partner about where your parenting philosophy comes from and how you formulated it.

Avoid the Good Cop/Bad Cop Dynamic

Falling into a pattern in which one parent is always soft and the other is strict is another pitfall for couples. This point is always about balance between discipline and nurturing. 

Keep Your Eyes on Your Goal

When kids grow up with validating, responsive parents they are better able to regulate their emotions and form positive relationships. If you know that this is the end goal, then you can work out the details with your partner. How would an emotionally in touch parent navigate this particular situation?

The most important thing to do is find a balance that works for both of you and the only way to do that is to forget about being right (or wrong) and have an open conversation about the kids you want to raise and the values you want to instill. You’ll each make mistakes. You’ll push him too hard sometimes and she’ll stifle him sometimes. But in the end, you’ll find your balance. Just remember to respect each other. 

Couples often forget that they are partners, not opponents! It doesn’t mean you agree on everything, but it helps to remember that for the most part you have the same goals in mind. When making choices or working through arguments focus on the relationship instead of being right.

When an argument or disagreement comes up, focus on your relationship and explore why you disagree or see things differently. Could you both have the same goal in mind, just accomplishing it in a different manner?

Parenting disagreements come up ALL THE TIME, especially as your kids hit those teenage year.

– How strict should you be on bedtime? (They need to learn how to take care of their body.)

– How to discipline a child that acted out? (They broke a rule and they need to know there is a consequence.) 

– What rules should be made around schoolwork and online learning? (They need to learn good study habits for the future.) – What are appropriate movies, music, language or clothing for your children? (You want to instill good values in your children.)

Instead of looking at the rules individually, decide the value/concept you are trying to teach and focus on rules and discipline that will help reach that goal. 


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