Your parenting style began to evolve when you were a small child. How you were parented, your experiences growing up, and your values shape how you approach parenting. Your goals for your child and your definition of parenting success play an important role in your personal parenting style.
Your spouse comes to the role of parenting with his own experiences, beliefs, and values. Often styles can conflict. When two parents don’t agree on how to raise their children, it isn’t just difficult on the marriage, it’s challenging for the children. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel – with an open heart and an open mind, the two of you can work together.
1. Understand Your Style.
There are essentially three different styles of parenting. There is authoritarian, which entails strict rules and consequences. Authoritative parenting also has rules and consequences. However, it’s more responsive to the particular child’s personality and needs. Permissive parents place few rules on their child and are quite lenient. Understanding where your style fits, and where your spouse’s style fits, is the beginning.
Sit down and talk about what you each view your role as a parent to be. What are your goals? How do you define a successful parent? What values do you want to instill in your child and how do you think you can help them grow up to be a successful adult? Talking about will help both of you realize that while there may be differences, there are also similarities.
3. Create a Plan.
Consider creating what you might call a parenting mission statement. This outlines the various areas that are important to you and your family, and what priorities you want to emphasize. For example, in terms of education, what do you expect from your child? Creating a parenting plan gives you both a template to work from and it’s a document that you create together.
Related: How to Be a Parent
4. Establish a System That Supports Team Parenting.
Agree on how you’re going to approach parenting together. For example, small issues can be handled in the moment. However, larger discipline problems may be handled together after you’ve had a chance to discuss the situation.
5. Allow Room for Mistakes.
Neither parent is perfect and both will make mistakes. Blame, anger, and conflict don’t help either one of you nor does it help your children. Keep parental conflict away from your children and discuss your differences calmly.
Finally, if you’re struggling to come to an agreement, consider getting professional help. A parenting class or a counselor can help the two of you come together. It is possible for you to find common ground and parent even when your styles conflict.