Everybody has different parenting styles, which is only natural as each individual has their own beliefs, values, and comfort zones. You may not consider that this extends to your partner as well until you come across an issue that you stand on opposing sides of.
Having disagreements with regards to how to discipline your children is very natural, and does not necessarily mean that you aren’t compatible parents.
It simply means that you don’t share the same perspective on one particular issue – you are two different people, after all.
It can be difficult to navigate a situation in which you both want different things.
Here are some tips to help you come to a comfortable middle ground:
Find Common Ground
In the moment this may be difficult, but if you explore your disagreement enough there’s bound to be at least a little something that you can agree on.
It might be easier to find this common ground by first diffusing any tension and identifying something that you like about their approach before delving into the issue to find a middle ground.
Present Yourselves as a Unified Team
It’s important for your child to see that you and your partner are in agreement with each other, even if you aren’t. This is so that your authority as parents is not undermined. Disagreeing in front of your child will encourage them to go to one parent and not the other, playing you off each other in order to get what they want.
Try to keep the focus on your child’s behavior when disciplining rather than your disagreement.
Identify Who Feels More Strongly About the Issue
Some issues may not seem like a big deal to you but really are to your partner and vice versa. While one party may simply dislike or disagree with something, the other may feel truly uncomfortable and distressed.
In this situation, it might be better to defer to the person who is going to be most emotionally affected.
Empathise With Your Child Without Breaking Unity
It’s very important to make sure that your child feels heard without throwing your spouse under the bus and breaking your unified front.
Kids need to feel understood in order to understand your decision themselves, but they also need to know that the disciplinary action taken was a joint decision even if that’s not entirely the truth.
Identify the Underlying Reasons for Why You Disagree
Your parenting style is likely influenced by your own experience and potentially even how your parents parented you. Whether you mimic your own parents’ style or you go in the complete opposite direction, you and your partner may have had different experiences in your childhood.
Understanding the reasons behind their decisions and feelings is important as it will help you to empathise with their position, in turn making it easier to come to a unified decision.
Go Back to Basics
Discuss what is absolutely non-negotiable in your household. These include health and safety rules and family values. You and your partner are likely to find common ground here as you are both invested in protecting your children and raising them well.
These will help you present as a unified front and remind you that you do have common ground to build on.
Keep Communication Lines Open
Like many facets of a relationship, communication is essential to unified parenting. If you disagree with your spouse, let them know so that it doesn’t end up spilling out in anger.
It’s a good idea to communicate when you’re calm rather than in a heated space, as it will make it easier for you to understand each other.
At the end of the day, we need to accept the differences between us and our partners. This doesn’t only apply to discipline, but your relationship at large. Being okay with who they are and learning to compromise is a fantastic skill that will allow you to become the super-parent team that you can be!
Mums, do you and your partner have the same parenting style, or do you also sometimes ‘knock heads’ with how certain things should be handled?
Comment below to let us know x