Parenting as a Team
Many people don’t realize just how much their parenting styles differ from their partners’ styles until they have children. Their first major disagreement with their partners about parenting often comes as a surprise, despite all the marriage advice for newlyweds out there that encourages couples to discuss their preferred parenting styles beforehand.
At that point, they have two options: insist on raising the children their way and alienate their partners or find a way to combine the two parenting styles. It goes without saying that the latter is the better choice.
Conflicting Parenting Styles
Conflicting parenting styles confuse children and make them unsure of what the “real” rules are. They encourage children to become manipulative and find a way to “work” both sides for their own benefit. Conflicting styles also cause a lot of conflict in married life leaving the children feeling responsible for the never ending tug of war between the parents.
Merging parenting styles allows parents to present a united front. The kids to feel secure in the fact that they know exactly what the rules are and are less likely to rebel.
Dealing with Different Parenting Styles
Not all parenting styles are equal, so merging two different parenting styles is not as easy as picking bits and pieces from each style and combining them. Studies show that authoritative parenting is the most effective form of parenting. It combines the warm and nurturing style of permissive parenting with the order issuing, no nonsense style of authoritarian parenting. This is the middle ground that most advice for newlyweds encourages new parents to strive for.
To find that middle ground, you and your spouse should each outline the primary values you wish to impart to your children and the specific ways you feel are best for imparting those values. This requires quite a bit of soul searching and research into the different parenting approaches.
Once you each have your own unique parenting blueprint, identify the areas of conflict. Keep in mind that you may agree on the values that you wish to impart on your children but disagree on the methods. When you know exactly what your differences are, you can begin to work on a cooperative compromise.
Compromise, in this case, doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to pick one method over the other. It could mean researching and finding other ways to impart those values to your children and then picking the best one among them.
Once you have a combined parenting style, be consistent. Resist the urge to revert to your individual parenting styles. If you disagree on something, don’t argue about it in front of the children. Wait until you are alone and then discuss it.
Most advice for newlyweds encourages couples to discuss how they are going to raise their children long before they have children. However, many couples don’t realize how important this is until they have a screaming newborn in their arms. Thankfully, it’s never too late to merge parenting styles.