What if my partner and I don’t parent the same way?
1. First don’t panic! It’s ok! I don’t know a single home where the parents agree 100% of the time
2. Communication between the parents is key!! Not to convince each other of who is right, but to deeply understand where each parent is coming from. Listen with the intent to understand. And speak with the intent to make the other person understand your point of view, not change theirs
3. Talk about the end results you are aiming for— you will see that you probably both want the same. Children who are able to themselves, resilient, independent, compassionate, etc… You probably just disagree about what actually will get your children there. This is where exploring through books, podcasts, coaching etc can help you guys find the best way to achieve this end goal together.
4. Get curious about each other’s parenting past. How were you each parented, and how did it feel. Would you have wanted something different from your parents instead? What do you want to take from your parenting past and what do you want to get rid of?
5. Remember that two people cannot agree 100% of the time and it is natural! Our kids need to see healthy communication and problem-solving.
6. If the child wants something and you are not sure how the other parent would respond, take some time, pause, tell your child you will think about it, talk it over with the other parent and agree on a decision.
7. For smaller every day stuff, it is important to accept that our partner will NOT always (or ever) do things the way we want and that is ok. If the child is well-cared for, then we need to give each parent the space to parent THEIR way.
8. We cannot control the words that another parent says. We may be the parent that reads all the gentle parenting books and we cringe when we hear something very different but we need to give the other parent space to parent their way. If the language goes too far and you feel like it could hurt the child’s feelings over and over, then discuss it with the other parent and explain to them your point of view, show them another way of communicating. But again, you cannot expect to change anyone. If your style of parenting really is more suited to your family then with time, your partner may absorb from you a different way of doing things and adopt it with their own twist.