If your views and approach to parenting differ from your husband’s, you’ll know it can be the source of many arguments. Find out how to smooth things over now and prevent future bust-ups from affecting your family.
Parenting styles differ dramatically between people, so it’s no wonder that they can often be a source of contention for parents, particularly when it comes to disciplining your children. You may demand discipline and obedience, while your husband may be more lenient, or vice-versa. Although there may be no right or wrong, the key is to work out a compromise so you can both be satisfied with the final outcome.
If you fail to work together as a united team, your children are at risk of being confused about where they stand and what they’re allowed to do and what is forbidden. Young children need boundaries to help them develop discipline — if they know they can get away with certain behaviours when a particular parent is around, they’ll test it out and push the limits. Disharmony can also create tension in families as your kids quickly learn who is the softie and request favours from them behind the other parent’s back.
It’s going to be a long, hard road if you don’t work out a system early, so try the following suggestions for working together as a team and increasing your chances of a smooth ride into parenthood.
Schedule a parent-to-parent meeting
Take the time to sit down with your husband and share your views and opinions, away from your children. Discuss your ultimate goals, each of your strengths and weaknesses, and the problems that have been arising in the home. Speak clearly without getting emotional or angry, but make sure you’re honest and explain the reasons behind your approach. It’s also vital that you give your partner the opportunity to speak. Even if you completely disagree with his views, be attentive, listen and let him feel heard.
Don’t let your preconceptions blind you to potentially better methods of parenting or discipline. Just because your mother stuck to one system when you were a child, it doesn’t mean that there’s not a better option out there. Research, talk to friends and experts, take classes, read books and learn from each other. Perhaps you’ll find that one way works better than the other, a combination of both is the key, or maybe you’ll end up discovering a new set of rules or systems altogether.
Stick to the plan
Whichever approach you decide to take, it’s vital that you both agree to stick to it. Giving in and changing the rules on a whim will only confuse your children and lead to bad behaviour. It’s also wise to consider possible issues ahead of time — such as your child having a tantrum when at a friend or family member’s home, your child bullying another kid, or behaviour issues at school. Work out an action plan so that you’re prepared and feel confident disciplining your children should the need arise.