It’s common for couples to have different parenting styles that clash with each other. Clashing parenting styles can be a problem, and can cause confusion for the kids because of the contrasting ideas inside the home. Parents are two authority figures in the home who should be unified as one. What happens to the rest of the family if the parents aren’t?
If you and your spouse have different parenting styles, your kids will have to choose one or neither of you to obey and to respect. If they decide, they will choose who favors them more, and who gives them what they want. If they don’t, that is because they don’t know who to listen to.
How can you and your spouse deal with your different parenting styles? Marital and family counselor, Ma. Isabel Sison-Dionisio, shares some tips and reminders.
Before anything, it’s important to sit down with your spouse to talk about the issue. Ms. Dionisio highly recommends that you and your husband sit down to talk about the rules and parenting styles you plan to implement in your home. “Putting your methods in sync is something you two should invest. If you are worried about having the kids liking one parent more than the other, getting in sync, and being united in dealing with your kids are solid ways to prevent that. A consistent, unified approach to rearing the kids is the best way to go about things.”
Ms. Dionisio also says that it’s important to avoid interrupting each other because this can lead to shouting and fighting. Let the other one talk, make their point, and explain their side. Talk when it’s your turn. It does not have to be solely your spouse’s or yours. You can mix it up, talk about common specific situations, and decide what to do when the situation arises. When a rare situation springs up, you can tell the child that you’ll talk about it first before making any decision on behalf of both of you. You need to have unity in your convictions. Talk about your beliefs and your stand regarding things. You need to be in sync.
If your disagreements escalate to shouting and fighting, both of you should agree on involving a third party. A good example is your wedding godparents, who are expected to give counsel and help with resolving a conflict regarding your marriage. If it’s not settled with your godparents’ help, you and your spouse could visit a professional. Remember that the purpose of bringing in a third party is to have a smooth settlement, not to have an ally.
Finally, Ms. Dionisio names a few tips to keep in mind:
- Never fight in front of your child/children.
- Avoid raising your voice at each other even when you’re alone.
- Never make the kids choose between the both of you.
- Be consistent with your decisions. Don’t make a decision on behalf of both of you without consulting the other – this usually starts the conflict. It will help if you have a parenting style talk even before you become parents.
- Never let your pride get in the way. You know when your spouse’s way is better than yours. You need to accept it and let it go. It’s not about how many things you or your spouse is right about, it’s about both of you leading your family to a better place than yesterday, as one.