Every single one of us has a different theory when it comes to parenting. And this is perfectly okay. You’re the parent – you get to decide what’s best for your child.
But what happens if you and your partner are not on the same page with what’s best? What happens when you say one thing and your partner says another? Or when you believe in one method of guidance and they disagree? What happens when your values in parenting aren’t matching up?
This happens ALL the time.
Getting on the Same Page
Sure, you made your beautiful darlings together, but it’s only natural to have slightly different views on how to raise them.
Parenting expert and author, Dr Justin Coulson explains that although being united in every single matter is pretty much impossible, it is so important for a happy household to get on the same page especially in terms of your parenting plan, your family values and your teaching and discipline methods.
“[Being on the same page] is the first thing parents need to make their parenting work,” Dr Coulson explains in his latest book, 10 Things Every Parent Needs to Know. “When we see things the same way, or a least work to understand one another, everyone gets along so much better.”
So how can you get on the same page? Here are four things to try:
Consider your Family Values
Values play a pretty important role in our lives. They influence all behaviours and attitudes and affect our decisions and relationships. But when you and your partner are focusing on teaching your kids different values, it can cause confusion and conflict.
For example, you may want your children to be organised, placing an emphasis on ensuring they always pick up after themselves and clean up all messes. Your partner, on the other hand, may value creativity and see their mess as part of the creative process.
It’s fine to have different values. But you and your partner need to know which values are important to
one another in order to find a balance.
So ask yourself, What traits and behaviours do I value? What traits do I want my children to have?
Then get your partner to consider the same. Once you know which values are the most important, you can work on finding a compromise that incorporates both parties’ ideals.
Create a Shared Vision
With values sorted, it’s time to work on your family vision. So grab two coffees and sit down with your partner. Ask each other this one simple question: What do you want for your family?
Yes, you want your family to be happy and healthy. We all want that. But this is too vague. We need to be more specific with our goals.
1. What makes you a good parent?
2. What is your role as a parent?
3. What’s the most important thing for your child?
4. How would you like your children to remember their childhoods?
5. What’s the end goal for your children? What is it that you want most for them?
Yes, sitting down and having a chat about these things means stepping back and analysing your own parenting methods, which can be a little bit tricky. But these questions will help shape the decisions you make for you and your family.
Chat Before You Act
Being on the same page when it comes to disciplining and teaching our kids is so crucial. But it is also one of the trickiest chapters to conquer as a team.
From day one there may be conflicts in teaching and guidance methods. One parent may prefer to sleep train their infant; one parent may prefer to let baby snuggle. As the child gets older, the conflicts continue. One parent may want to try time-out or grounding, or yelling. The other parent may prefer to try talking, understanding and reflecting rather
When these guidance methods aren’t in sync, it can be confusing and ineffective for kids and can often result in more acting out and screaming matches. So take the time to see eye-to-eye before you act.
“When a child requires some ‘discipline’ (that is, teaching and guidance), talk with your partner first. Describe what happened, focus on your shared vision, and discuss how you can deal with the kids based on what matters most,” Dr Coulson suggests.
Dr Coulson admits that this won’t always work, especially when you’re in the heat of the moment and you don’t have a chance to talk it through first.
But it’s okay to step back from the situation, let the air clear and then decide on the right plan of action with your partner a few hours after the event. This gives both you and your child time to reflect on what has happened.
Sometimes you simply cannot agree. In these instances, let go of the reigns and agree to try it your partner’s way. On one condition… you also try your way.
Try it one way for a week and see how it goes – how you feel, how the kids feel, how the family functions. Then, try it the other way for a week and see what happens.
“When you simply cannot get alignment, agree to experiment,” Dr Coulson explains. “So long as no one is being hurt and people’s values can be respected, this can be a useful approach.”
Parenting is a tough gig and there’s bound to be some hurdles along the way. But maintaining a united front with your partner can make these every day hurdles so much easier to conquer. After all, when going up against our fiery tots, spirited kiddies and strong-willed teens, the more united we are, the better chance we have at getting them to listen to us. And actually getting them to bed at a decent hour! Fingers crossed at least.
Dr Justin Coulson’s 10 Things Every Parent Needs to Know is an inspiring and easy read, perfect for all busy parents. It offers plenty of great advice for positive solutions in everyday parenting challenges that you can easily bring on board in your own home.