- Discuss differences behind closed doors – your children don’t need to hear you arguing (but it’s certainly Ok for them to hear it on occasion if they see the apologies & some resolution). It’s ok to not have a decision on the spot. You can say that mom and dad would like to talk about it and we will give you an answer later. This way you get to discuss how you will handle an issue.
- Agree on the rules and consequences before the situation occurs – if you are deciding on whether a certain situation requires a consequence for your child, talk about this beforehand and present your consequence as a united front.
- Understand the family history of your partner – we all have core values in which we grew up. The more you understand about how your partner grew up, this will give you more information as to their viewpoint and why they might be pushing for something.
- Be flexible in your parenting style – things may change as your child/ren grows. Some kids need more structure, while other kids are just naturally more rule abiding.
- Try to comply with the one who feels more strongly about a particular topic – if this is something very important to your partner, hear them out. You don’t always have to 100% agree with their viewpoint, but if it’s something you are not completely opposed to, let them have it. It’ll save you some conflict and create greater harmony.
- You will have differences – You don’t have to agree on everything to be good parents. Your differences can model different perspectives to children. It can be beneficial for children to see different ways in which something can be handled. I’ve always said to my clients, “It’s ok to say to your children, daddy feels very strongly about this, my opinion is different, but I think it’s important that we honor this for him. It’s a great way to teach them we are all different and life is about adapting to different things.
- Have each other’s back when the other one is absent – support your partner’s viewpoint when they are not there. The rules stay the rules. If and when you deviate from the rules, tell your partner you have done so and tell them why.
- Rely on others whose parenting style you value – Turn to others whom you respect for parenting advice.
- Learn from Mistakes and Forgive Each Other – there is the “good enough” parent. We don’t have to be perfect. It’s a good thing for your children to see you make mistakes and you learn from them. I always advocate to my clients that they admit their mistakes and readily apologize to their children.
- Alone Time – protect and nurture your relationship as much as possible. It’ll be your anchor in times of stress.
I know many of you are in a co-parenting relationship and are not living in the same household as your parenting partner. If you have a friendly relationship, then many of these rules can apply.
If your relationship with your parenting partner is contentious, it may be difficult to have agreement on parenting styles. The best advice is to keep your focus on the best interests of the child & know that you can only control what goes on in your household. There are ways to manage this & communicate this message to your child, as well as many other facets of managing co-parenting. I’d be happy to speak to you about ways we could work together on this issue. Please reach out for a complimentary call to learn more.