The value of communicationIn an ideal world, you and your spouse would have discussed your planned parenting strategies before your first child was born. In reality, most of us didn’t do this. The good news is that it’s not too late to have this chat now. The main things you and your partner need to discuss and communicated include:
- Discuss your individual parenting philosophies.
- Talk about what your childhood looked like and how you were parented. Be sure to mention how you’d like to parent your own children differently.
- Keep the tone of the conversation non-confrontational. Staying cool, calm, and rational will ensure things progress much easier for all.
Identify common ground with your spouseThis may seem like an impossible task to tackle. Sitting down with your other half to discuss your parenting styles is an integral part of reconnecting your family. Jot down the parts of parenting your children and issuing punishments that you do agree on. It can be too easy to get caught up in the aspects of parenting that you disagree on. Focusing on the positives in any stressful situation can make a world of difference, even if there are more areas of disagreement. Sometimes the easiest place to begin is with how much you appreciate how the other loves your children. A positive foundation can get the communication ball rolling.
Working out why you disagreeWhether you align with how your parents disciplined you or not, the parenting choices you make are likely influenced by how they raised you. Without fresh influences and parenting guidance, parents are often likely to repeat similar patterns exhibited by their parents. While it might be anecdotal, there is some truth beneath every man or woman uttering, “I sound just like my parents.” Those who have experienced abusive or difficult disciplinary experiences may vow never to repeat these behaviors with their children. More often, those who agreed with how their parents disciplined them will repeat the same discipline techniques and language on their children. In some parenting groups, you may hear some say, “My parents spanked me, and I turned out just fine!” This type of justification for making parenting decisions can be a slippery slope. This is because you are taking your experiences as an individual and applying it to others with different experiences and personalities. You may also not be entirely fine. You could have your emotional trauma stemming from your childhood experiences that you are not consciously aware of at the moment. To ensure that you can uncover common ground with your spouse, you must dig deep and figure out why you disagree on critical parenting decisions. If you find that you cannot settle disagreements with your spouse on this front, you may benefit from couples counseling to have someone mediate the conversation.
Begin with the manageableThere’s nothing saying that you need to make drastic changes overnight. Start with the manageable parenting decisions like the things related to keeping your teenager healthy and safe, as well as non-negotiable family and household rules. This could look like some of the following:
- Wearing a helmet while skateboarding or riding a bike.
- Wearing a seatbelt while in the car.
- Getting home before curfew.
- Doing homework before going out or playing games.
- Being respectful towards siblings and other members of the family.