Parenting Differences: 6 Handy tips on How to Stay on the Same Page
Created by Shikha Batra Updated on Mar 02, 2021
"My husband is completely ignorant and irresponsible when it comes to taking care of our children," says Madhumita, a mother to 4 year and 7 year old girls.
“He is a complete disaster as far as parenting is concerned. I have to clean up all of his mistakes, ”complains Sambhavna, a mother to a 9 year old boy.
"My wife just doesn't know how to manage children and discipline them," lashed out Dhiren, a father to 9 year and 11 year old boys.
Does your husband to make ponytails wrong or dress up children in mismatched outfits?
Are you also upset with your child's dad for serving him unhealthy snacks and spoiling him by fulfilling all his unjustified demands?
Is not being able to put children to bed on time the bone of contention for having everyday arguments between you and your wife?
If the answer to the above questions is in affirmation, probably you and your partner are not on the same page as far as parenting is concerned. Disagreements about parenting can cause real tension between your and your life partner and might sometimes even lead to issues in marriage. It might even lead to living with resentment if these issues remain unresolved. These differences might even cause everyday scenes at home as neither one is willing to back down, creating an uneven dynamic for the children as well. Since children are good at picking up when their parents are not on the same page and might take undue advantage of the situation. They might approach the other parent when one parent does not approve of their demand or does not grant permission to do something.
However, having different ideas and opinions on parenting doesn't really have to create big problems in your relationship. These differences can be resolved and a compromise can be reached with little effort, communication and cooperation.
Here are some handy tips which might help you both to be on the same page as far as parenting is concerned:
1. Present yourselves as a unified team to your child : Even if you disagree with your spouse on something, do not let this disagreement come out in open and just back it up. The disagreements can be addressed and the differences can be resolved later on in private when things are calm. You could then discuss alternate ways of handling things when you are out of the earshot of your child as disapproving each other's parenting style in front of your child can undermine your authority as parents.
2. Get to know of your spouse's family history: This will help you understand your spouse's perspective on parenting as in from where it stemming and how deeply those beliefs are rooted. This might help you see things more objectively and not be judgmental. Try to help each other to see that safety issues and cultural norms change over time.
3. Create rules together: You and your spouse could agree on certain specific rules such as mealtime, bedtime, permitted gadget time and homework must be completed before going outdoors to play. Also be open to suggestions from your children and make changes if they are appropriate. It would be easier to enforce rules when everyone would be on the same page.
4. Agree on consequences even if your parenting styles are in complete conflict with each other: You both will need to make some compromises if you disagree with each others' parenting style. Find a middle path wherein one parent may need to understand that there will be consequences if rules are not followed while the other parent might need to understand that rules do not have to be harsh to be effective. It would be better if the consequences for breaking specific rules are made clear to everyone by making their written list.
5. Stay connected to each other and touch base on how things are going: This is important to discuss things that've been causing tension so that you could stay up to date with how each other is feeling and head off any new conflicts before they develop. Listen to what each other has to say rather than refusing to budge. Choose a time when you both are calm and ready to talk. Try and speak honestly and respectfully to each other. Identify areas where you two are not on the same page and try to figure out why.
6. Extend forgiveness when your partner screws up: As there is no parenting manual which teaches you foolproof parenting techniques. Besides one becomes a better parent each day with experience, making mistakes is inevitable. Do not disparage your spouse in any way or throw him under the bus when he makes a bad decision or loses his cool and vice versa also holds good. Remember he is your partner and not your enemy, so support each other.
When parents are not on the same page the message that is sent to the children is that you and your partner can be divided and conquered. When parents argue or fight with each other on a parenting issue, the focus shifts from child and he is no longer held accountable for his behavior and the unacceptable behavior won't change. The bottom line is that it is fine to have different parenting styles and different belief systems, however the important thing is to understand that these differences can become strengths if communicated effectively and minor offenses are overlooked. Moreover, efforts need to be made to work together as a team so that the child is not pulled in the middle of these differences.