Parenting is hard enough. Add in the complexities of two people with vastly different parenting styles and it can create an atmosphere of conflict, confrontations, and contentiousness. If you're trying to find a way to handle differences in parenting styles between you and your partner, there are some steps you can take to make your parenting journey more enjoyable because trust us, it's not impossible.
First, talk openly and non-judgmentally about individual styles. Discuss the reasons why each of you parent the way you do — any experiences or childhoods that contributed to the formation of these ideas — then take time to really listen to each other. Remember, each style comes from love, so don't let these conversations devolve into criticism or blame.
When disagreements arise, try to work together as a team –– a unified front. Compromise doesn't mean one person is changing or giving up. It means you're both put aside your egos, look at both sides, and come up with outcomes that meet everyone's needs. Keep the goal of raising independent children who make responsible decisions in mind throughout the process.
Another useful tip is to be aware of the overall picture. In the moment, it may be hard to let go of a certain view but ask yourself if it's really worth a fight or if it's something that you can think about another day. When you remain cognizant of the big picture, you're more likely to step back when needed and avoid unnecessary battles. Communication is key - make sure your intentions are clear, whether you’re discussing a problem or sharing your vision.
And don't forget, it's ok to take breaks. Alone time with your kids is just as important as quality time with them as a couple. Carve out time to meet your own needs, explore personal interests, and give yourself opportunity to breathe and relax, That way, you can recharge and have more effective, understanding exchanges with your partner too.
Above all else, understand that being a parent is rewarding, but also hard. It's unlikely both parents will agree on everything, but the most important part is to strive for mutual understanding and look for win-win solutions. Address emotions, discuss your feelings, and respect and learn from each other –– coming from a place of love will make all the difference.
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