Have you ever had any conflict while you and your partner are parenting? Of course you have. Two different personalities are bound to have significant disagreements over parenting techniques. This is about as normal as anything I can think of. Still, the differences in still can create some real difficulty for the parents. Kids can pick up on this and even get parents pitted against each other. Well, there has to be a better approach. I just read a post over at Today's Parent with some suggestions on how we can navigate parenting differences with our significant other.
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My husband and I couldn’t be more different. I am a rule-follower; he likes to break them. I like structure; he is more laid back. This personality dichotomy created a balance in our relationship—until we had our first daughter almost four years ago. We quickly fell into the classic cliché of good cop/bad cop, in which mom (bad cop) always had to lay down the law for bedtime and bad behaviour, while dad (good cop) got to be the one who had all the fun. It created some tense moments in our household.
This is a very common situation. Differences are good in a relationship. If you can appreciate each other and look for ways that your differences can be a strength, much good will result. Adding a little one to the mix makes it harder to allow for the complimentary styles to match well.
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But different parenting styles aren’t necessarily something to worry about, says Kyle Pruett, a clinical professor of child psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine, and co-author of Partnership Parenting: How Men and Women Parent Differently—Why It Helps Your Kids and Can Strengthen Your Marriage. “Children don’t need their parents to be exactly the same, he says.“I think a lot of so-called experts have made a lot of loving and well-meaning parents feel very bad because we have insisted that they must be on the same page,“ he says. “But I’m happy if they are on the same chapter.” In fact, kids will find a way to harmonize this dynamic far better than their parents ever will, he explains.
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So maybe we can accept some basic differences, try to stay united on big picture issues and let our kids get what they need from each side. Still differences do cause real tension.
Pruett says, in these situations, it’s best to talk things out in private. “You have to have a conversation with each other about why [a situation] is troublesome,” recommends Pruett. He says couples should have a chat that is not accusatory, but simply explains how they felt when the incident occurred. Having some conversations in front of your children can actually be helpful to show them how to resolve disagreements—but only if the conversation stays friendly. In case a contentious situation arises, Pruett recommends agreeing on a signal that you need to discuss the issue later.
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This is true in any conversation but particularly here, the sides most remain calm and focused on facts, not accusations.
But just because you were raised one way, it doesn’t mean you have to parent that way. “The first step is self-reflection,” says Eshleman. “When we can make sense of our own lives then we can build on the positive experiences we have and move beyond the limitations of our past. We are not completely destined to repeat the patterns of our parents.” Eshleman suggests talking with your partner about why you do some of the things you do and asking them to do the same. Understanding where you both come from, and having a willingness to compromise on differing values can make all the difference. Plus, if parents are able to be self-aware of their own emotions and why they act the way they do, it helps promote healthy development and self-understanding in the child, says Eshleman.
This is great advice. We have to look at how we were raised and candidly look for the good and bad in it. This helps in understanding where your spouse is coming from. We may learn that the approach our spouse takes is not as crazy as we thought. Ultimately, we can find common and minimize the conflict.
Check out the full article below.
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