When you and spouse have different parenting styles: 5 ways to resolve

July 03, 2017
  • 1 / 6

    Raising a child can be challenging enough, but it becomes even more difficult when you and your husband have conflicting parenting styles.

    For instance, he’s authoritarian (“Because I said so”) and constantly accuses you of spoiling the little one with your mollycoddling ways.

    No wonder there’s increased tension in your family. Remember that disagreements aren’t just troubling for a couple; they also create a stress-filled atmosphere which inevitably unsettles the child.

    Here are suggestions by child psychologist, Dr Richard C. Woolfson, on how you can work together as a team.

    Related: 10 things that loving couples in successful marriages do 


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  • Talk it out
    2 / 6 Talk it out

    There’s no point butting heads over baby-care issues, or silently getting angry at each other.

    Talk about your concerns when the little one is fast asleep and both of you are feeling relaxed. Don’t discuss an issue when you’re mad.

    Explain to Hubby that you often disagree with how he manages the little one, and you’re worried this is causing unnecessary stress at home.

    Tell him that it’s important that you both resolve your differences as soon as possible, and that you need to work together.

    Related: When parents have different discipline styles


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  • Listen to each other
    3 / 6 Listen to each other

    Give your husband the chance to express his opinions. That can be very difficult because you hold such opposing views, but make sure you don’t jump in with your comments before he’s finished.

    Likewise, he should listen to what you have to say. Consider each other’s perspective and be prepared to take alternatives seriously.

    Maybe his approach isn’t as awful as you think, and maybe your way is more positive than he thinks. Be open-minded and willing to change if required.

    Related: 6 ways to work out parenting style differences with your spouse


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  • Aim for compromise
    4 / 6 Aim for compromise

    There is more than one “right” solution to a problem. That’s why you both should be flexible.

    For example, in some instances, an authoritarian approach may be entirely appropriate and, in other cases, a more relaxed one may be most suitable.

    Try to meet each other halfway when it comes to general rules on discipline, while recognising that there will be times when a different style may be required.

    Related: 4 habits to keep your marriage happy


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  • Present a united front
    5 / 6 Present a united front

    Draw up a list of decisions that you will both follow consistently. Aim for gradual, rather than sudden change.

    For instance, you might agree that from now on, the little one has to go to bed at a specific time, even if that means not getting to see one of you at night.

    Naturally, your kid will test the resolve of whomever is looking after him at the time, whether it’s you or Daddy.

    But if he sees that you are both of a like mind, he’ll eventually start to cooperate. You will soon get the results you hope for.

    Related: 23 ways to make your marriage stronger


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  • Be positive
    6 / 6 Be positive

    Every day, remind each other of your agreed approach and watch for progress. Make it a point to give an honest account of how you got on with the little one that day.

    Be willing to admit when you see that your coordinated efforts are working, even though you had doubts at the start.

    Sharing your experiences this way will give you both the confidence needed to continue.

    You’ll also find that as parenting disagreements become less frequent – because you are both working together – tension at home will dissipate.

    Related: 5 bad habits that could break your marriage

    (Photos: 123RF.com)

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