“Opposites attract” is a famous phrase when used to explain when couples who are so different in nature get together. I would say my husband and I are not complete opposites but we do have our particular differences. I can be anally punctual while his five minutes span to an hour, I remember everything from paying which bill when to whether we have milk in the fridge, my husband can’t remember where he last left his phone or wallet. Yes they can be irritating when you are waiting to be picked up or constantly on the hunt for mobile phones or wallets, but we do complement each other and the union works. But what do you do when your parenting style differs from your spouse's?
Raising children is a long and hazardous affair and if you are constantly battling with your spouse over how you want to raise your child it can get more difficult than necessary. Whilst I might say no to a child’s request, he might not be so harsh, whilst I demand cooperation and responsibility from the older ones, he is willing to overlook and lets things slide. Our parenting styles tend to differ due to circumstances, sometimes it can be frustrating or destructive depending on the objective we want to achieve. Thus rather than solve the problem at hand if we disagree with how to approach it then we cause more dissonance and confusion to the already troubled child.
Here are some ways of being in sync with your partner when it comes to parenting:
1. First of all decide on that type of parenting style you want to adopt. Authoritarian parents exert a lot of control over their children. Permissive parents let the children control them. Then democratic parents tend to have a healthy balance of both the authoritarian and permissive styles. Sometimes our personality and the way we were brought up also reflects the way we respond to our children. If you feel your spouse has a more extreme way of parenting them it might be best for you to adopt a lesser aggressive mode for the sake for the children or vice versa, you might have to adopt a more stricter way of parenting if you feel the children are suffering because of too much freedom. But if each spouse accepts the other’s parenting style then they can each parent peaceful without stepping on each other’s toes.
2. There is no right or wrong style of parenting to be adopted. You have to follow what is best for your child and the reactions dictated by your personality. Whatever differences you might have with your spouse’s style of parenting be sure that in front of the children you put on a united front. You might disagree on whether your young daughter really needs to go for a sleepover. Do your arguments and discussions privately and then face the children with a mutual decision.
3. Compromise is an important quality to practice when there are differences in parenting. My husband, who is an MMA fanatic and practices it religiously insists that our daughters learn how to defend themselves, I am quite wary of them doing themselves some bodily harm during practices since Mixed Martial Arts tends to be a vigorous sport. But at the same time I understand my husbands logic and his concerns for their safety. We have come to a compromise at the extent to which they train, and all parties are happy.
4. Parenting is a constantly evolving occupation and thus at the same time our parenting styles need to mature and develop with the demands of the children. It is a good idea to discuss your common goals that as parents you want to achieve. The ways in which you achieve them is up to yourselves.
Different parenting styles do not always spell out to be disastrous. Infact it is helpful to the child to experience a world of different people, learn to negotiate and compromise with various trains of thought. Always remember to keep the child’s best interests at heart and remember it is not a compeition to see who is right or wrong. Whichever style you decide to adopt, remember you are blessed with beautiful happy children, and that makes you a winner already!
By Mayuri Jayasinghe