Different Parenting Styles Needn’t Spell Disaster (How to Cope)

Handle Differences in Opinions about Parenting

As a parent, you always have great intentions. You want the best for your child. Effective parenting provides the stability and guidance that children need to grow up into respectful adults. But sometimes you and your partner have different parenting styles and differences in opinions about certain parenting strategies. This article will help you navigate these differences so they don’t cause a rift in your relationship, or affect your child’s development. 

Different Parenting Styles Are Normal

Similar to how each person’s personality differs, your parenting strategies will differ too. That’s not a bad thing. In fact, it’s good for your child to learn from your unique qualities. Just make sure one parenting model isn’t dominating the other. 

Here is where communication as parents plays an important role. Before making any major parenting decisions, talk with each other as to which strategy will work best for the current parenting dilemma. Remember, different parenting styles don’t mean they correlate with one being “better” or “worse.”

Show A United Front

As we talked about, it’s normal to disagree with certain parenting techniques. That said, it’s important to show a united front. When making parenting decisions, especially major ones, make sure you and your partner discuss it in advance before approaching your child.

In private it is all right to argue while discussing your parenting options, but when you go in front of your children, do not let them see you argue. They need to know that you are both in agreement. If your children see you aren’t united, they may find ways to manipulate the situation to their advantage. 

Both Parents Should Make Decisions

Often what happens when parents have differences in options about parenting is that one partner ends up deferring to the other. This is particularly troublesome because not only is your child not exposed to both types of parenting, but one partner is doing all of the parenting work while the other is in the background. Most times one parent doesn’t want to make all the decisions, and often the other really doesn’t want to always sit on the sidelines.

By trying both parenting styles you can judge which style works best for specific situations and what isn’t working as well. It’s healthy for your child to experience changes in your parental techniques. In a way, it’s an experience for the real world where things aren’t always consistent.

Be Open-Minded

Parenting with your partner requires give and take. You might not always agree, but you need to be open-minded to the other’s opinion. You also have to be willing to try the parenting strategies they suggest, even if it isn’t your first choice.  

Couple scolding little daughter

Discuss Your Parenting Goals

To find common ground in your parenting styles, it’s best that you take some time to sit down with your partner to discuss your goals as parents and your goals for raising your children. This is the time to discuss rules and boundaries for your children along with the responsibilities you want them to maintain in order to learn to be productive and functioning adults. 

Speak With A Therapist

Parenting can be tough. You and your partner want to make sure you are doing everything you can to provide the best for your child. Sometimes you might have questions or can’t decide on which parenting technique best serves your child in specific situations.

Taking the time to speak with a licensed therapist can help you navigate parenting situations along with your differences in opinions about parenting. 

Don’t Undermine Each Other

Even if your parenting styles differ, never undermine your partner after they’ve made a parenting decision. It’s important that you show a united front and help your partner follow through. You can offer empathy to your child, but make sure they know that you agree with your partner’s decision, and if they want to discuss it they need to speak with your partner directly. If you don’t agree with the parenting decision your partner made, discuss it later in private. 

Similar to other aspects of your relationship, you aren’t always going to agree with your partner. This is especially true in parenting. The key is to maintain an open line of communication and be willing to compromise. Use this article to help use your differences in opinions about parenting to your advantage.