If your marriage is anything like mine, you promised to love, honor, and cherish your significant other. Unfortunately, those vows said nothing about getting along when it comes to parenting. I have found that no matter how much both my husband and I wish the best for our children, we will never parent in the exact same way. Just like every person views each situation differently based on their own unique life experiences, so too do we parent differently. Knowing this, I guessed that parenting our two daughters would be a fun challenge.
Our differences started about three weeks after we brought our first daughter home from the hospital. More specifically it was when we were trying to get her onto a schedule of some sort and we were letting her cry it out the first time. We made certain she had everything she needed:a clean diaper, safe and comfortable sleeping environment, and a fully belly. Still, my baby sobbed for me! So, we turned on her music and her turtle that shines stars on the ceiling. Then, we closed her door. My husband, having to be at work at 6 a.m. the following morning, went to bed. Me? I sobbed outside of her door, until she finally settled down and went to sleep.
That was likely the most difficult night of my life and after our second child joined our family, the different parenting styles became even more pronounced. However, we managed to remember to communicate with each other when one of us reacted in a way the other did not like. Okay, so maybe it was a couple days or weeks later, but I truly believe that these conversations helped us to parent better. We also found that while our methods are different, we have many of the same core values that make co-parenting so much easier. Whether we are debating the length or usefulness of timeouts, or how to handle a little too much sass, I have to admit that (for the most part) we continue to work together to raise our girls to be strong, intelligent, confident women.
Maybe you and your spouse disagree quite a bit about how to parent. It may even start to drive a wedge into your relationship. What can you and your spouse do to come together and parent more effectively, while maintaining a healthy and loving relationship? Here are some ideas that have worked for myself and many of the married couples that I know:
- Communicate (Most Important!!!!) Talk to your spouse when they do something you are not so fond of and offer a positive action they could use in a similar situation.
- Know Your Partners Strengths – You married this person for their amazing qualities that you love and adore. They probably display these same qualities when parenting. Don’t forget that it is easier to criticize, so acknowledge when your spouse has done something that was really great parenting.
- One-on-One – Any feelings you share with your significant other should take place where your children cannot over hear or feel caught in the middle. This will limit their stress as well as your own!
- Rank it – How important is it really? Do you need to start a discussion that could hurt your spouse if the situation was handled just fine, but maybe not the way you would do it? If not, let it be… this is a major one I am still working on!
- All You Need is Love – By reminding yourself your children need the love of both of you and require you in their lives, you can hopefully come to a compromise on how to parent. Love, and even like, each other through the tough times.
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