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My husband and I don't see eye to eye when it comes to parenting. What can I do?


What is your parenting style? Are you more authoritative or authoritarian? Or are you more on the permissive side? Some are considered uninvolved. 

And what happens when your spouse or co-parent has a different parenting style than you? Having a different way of parenting than your partner is not shocking. It is actually more common than we think. Since we have different personalities and family upbringing, we are bound to have our own approach to parenting.

Clarifying the root of the issue

Before going into the nitty gritty of conflict resolution, maybe there is something to be gained from clarifying with your partner where the disagreement comes from. 

Is it a conflict due to parenting styles? Or is it about differing opinions on rules and values? Even if 2 people have similar parenting styles, they discover that the root of their disagreement is over the household rules or values they want to implement. 

For example, if you have a squabble over what activities are allowed and what are prohibited, how many hours should children spend on screen time, how they should behave when there is company over, how chores are divided, and table etiquette, then rules may be the root of the issue.

Laying down the rules in the household is crucial because they guide the day to day activities and behaviors of each family member. Getting on the same page about rules will save parents from frustration and fatigue fighting over small things. 

What do you do when you don’t see eye to eye with your partner about more important issues? 

  • Clarify each other’s expectations. 

Not being on the same page over parenting styles can be frustrating. But a lot of stress may come from the amount of work that both parents are doing, without realizing that their child-rearing expectations may be unrealistic. 

If one feels that they are doing more than the other, resentment may rise. Imagine feeling that you are more responsible for providing 157, 680 hours of parenting before a child becomes 18 years of age! But when the two of you are willing to compromise on sharing the responsibility, you deflate the pressure of the heavy responsibility. 

  • Have moments of self-care. 

The more you are stressed, the more we get into fights. Parents who spend time creating systems that allow each other to step away for a little while to rest find themselves more effective in working as a team. 

  • Solve problems before they occur, especially about limits and empathy. 

Over time, research has shown that parenting styles that allow children some freedom while enforcing boundaries and showing a lot of empathy are the most effective. Studies have even noticed that parents do not have to use the same parenting style! In a study of American teens, researchers have found that if 1 parent is more authoritative and 1 is permissive or authoritarian, children respond better to their parenting.

  • Develop a united team gradually. 

You can work on agreeing about important values, rules and parenting styles as you go along. If necessary, you can attend parenting classes together, or get a parenting coach or a licensed social worker to help both of you build skills and an accepting attitude. You can learn conflict-resolution and problem-solving skills together.

This helps you to keep your emotions in check when there is conflict at home about the child. You can present a united front when talking to the child while you learn to figure things out together behind closed doors. Your children will feel the security and safety in your home as you find the balance between enforcing limits and showing your love and care. 

Be kind to yourselves as you build the skills and be patient as you both grow in your parenting. 

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My husband and I don't see eye to eye when it comes to parenting. What can I do?
Brandon Resasco