While each person has his or her unique opinion on child rearing, most couples share similar beliefs. Issues surface when the parenting style of each parent differs greatly. Furthermore, this strain can lead to discord and cognitive dissonance in the children.
With so much at stake, how do you solve this problem?
There is no perfect answer as each family is different. Many successful solutions to this issue have common themes, though.
Find Common Ground
It’s understandable for couples not to agree on every single thing, even how to raise the kids. From the mortgage to the dinner menu, marriages are full of choices and compromises.
Most couples share a fundamental belief system surrounding character values. It’s the execution of that belief system that can create problems.
For example, while both of you may agree that your child should not lie, you may disagree on the punishment when your child tells a lie. The basic goal is that you want to stop your child’s lying. The means of discipline could cover the spectrum, though.
The first step is to find common ground in other parts of your life. Locate the basic and important issues within your own family unit. These might include sleeping arrangements, diet choices, safety, religion, and more. Eliminate constant conflict by coming to an agreement on these big issues.
You will probably compromise on some issues and agree to disagree on others. The desired result is more unity when it comes to the issues impacting your everyday life.
Even if you establish an agreed method of addressing basic and important issues, you’re probably aware that life has a funny way of interrupting plans. To stay on the same page as your spouse, even when you have different parenting styles, you will need to effectively communicate with each other.
Your communication should be consistent and, when necessary, in depth. Have regular discussions with your spouse. At this point, your discussions about your different parenting styles can benefit from the experiences you’ve had in finding common ground about the other important aspects of your life.
Remember to address issues quickly and completely. Avoid harboring resentment towards your spouse for his or her own parenting style.
Remain a United Front
More than likely, before you had children you were a united front. The two of you were facing the world’s challenges together. Now that you’re parents, you still need to be a united front for your children.
Your beliefs may greatly differ. In fact, your parenting styles might continue to be complete opposites. Nevertheless, your children need to see that you are united and have their best interests in mind.
You both have the ability to successfully raise children, even with your different parenting styles. It’s important to display this unity with gusto.
When children know their parents stand in unison, they feel more secure. Moreover, children feel more loved when they know their parents are going to great lengths to raise them. Dedicating time and effort on both your marriage and your parenting proves you can meet in the middle and succeed despite your differences.
If, no matter how hard you’ve tried, you find that your parenting differences are continuing to put a strain on your marriage, contact a therapist who specializes in parenting issues. He or she can help you work through those differences.