Raising children isn’t easy – it requires that you show consistency in all decisions, good modeling efforts in all actions, and even unity in parenting styles. But how do you manage to raise children with consistency, good modeling, and unity when you are not on the same page as your spouse?
A lot of families experience conflict when the values of each parent clash. So how do you prevent a clash of parenting styles? How do you handle the differences between your spouse when it comes to raising children?
1. Explore each one’s parenting style – authoritarian, authoritative, permissive, or neglectful?
Identifying each of your parenting styles is the first step in reconciling the differences between you and your spouse. Here are the four parenting style categories that you may display:
- Authoritarian – Parent is strict, very controlling, and shows little warmth.
- Authoritative – Parent is strict in enforcing rules but can show affection to the child and provide an explanation about rules.
- Permissive – Parent shows extreme affection, always appeasing the child, and rarely setting rules and boundaries.
- Neglectful – Parent displays little interest and concern on the child and does not enforce clear rules.
2. Acknowledge each other’s parenting style and combine approaches if possible.
There is no single perfect approach in parenting. It will definitely depend on your family tradition, values, culture, and goals. However, you cannot say that to your spouse. You cannot walk on a different parenting path because that can possibly create confusion and instability to your child.
When trying to acknowledge each other’s parenting style, you must first know your differences. If your spouse is authoritarian and shows extremely controlling behavior toward your child, then you can complement that by showing more affection.
However, be careful not to create a barrier between your spouse and your child. There should never be a protagonist-and-antagonist or angel-and-evil impression in your household.
3. Show unity in parenting and always keep discussions privately.
To prevent your child from labeling one parent as better than the other, you will have to make sure that you are united in terms of managing behavior and taking care of your child. When your spouse is currently dealing with your child, never attempt to “butt in” or contradict him unless serious injury or danger may happen. Butting in may only aggravate the situation because your child will take it as a battle between good and evil. And if you are the more affectionate one, then that might cause resentment of the child towards your spouse.
It is better to keep your parenting discussions private. Never allow your child to hear your disagreements because that may also give her the impression that your family is unstable and that she can ultimately rule over everyone else.
4. Set household rules together, agree on which values to uphold, and decide how managing behavior must be enforced.
Communication and understanding are the keys to preventing parenting clashes. Set a comforting meeting with your spouse to discuss how you should raise your child. If you are coming from different backgrounds, be sure to have an agreement on how you can deal with it. Identify family rules and boundaries so that you can easily know when and how to react when your child behaves a certain way.
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