Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Conflict Over Different Parenting Styles

A common but destructive form of conflict in marriage is  over different parenting styles.  Or should I say about who's right over the correct way to parent. These arguments start with the erroneous assumption that there is only one true way to parent and each parent has exclusive knowledge of that truth.      These differences are often passionately experienced by each parent and so the struggle can be quite intense.

I like to remind parents that the overt conflict over the correct parenting style is probably worse for the child then the actual right or wrong of the issue.

Take a look at the little guy in the picture. Imagine yourself in the middle of two large human beings both of whom you are dependent on  for your very existence. They are shouting and talking  in loud angry voices.  I imagine it might feel like the world is coming to an end or that this parental war is all your fault.  This is every child's worst nightmare.

Conflict and working out differences is a normal part of life but the the picture that you see above is not how it is done. Not with your kid in the middle. Ix-nay,never and wrong. If this scene has played out at your house, we are all human after all, say sorry to your kid and assure them that it is not their fault.

 Do your best to compartmentalize your anger at your spouse regarding parenting issues when your child is around. You are a grown up, you can do it. Different opinions on how to best parent your beloved child are a normal and healthy part of parenting.  Go behind closed doors and talk about it.  See if you can't negotiate a solution.   If mom and dad can't come to agreement there are lots of other people you might want to check in with.  Wisdom is often seeking outside guidance from your larger tribe or community. Remember it takes a village ...


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