Help! My Partner Has a Different Parenting Style

Most couples report an increase in bickering during the first year of their baby’s life. This could be down to sleep deprivation, resentment and having less time (and energy) to focus on the relationship. One thing new parents commonly fight about is parenting styles. It isn’t uncommon for the mom and dad to have completely different parenting styles and, of course, to each think theirs is the ‘right one’. This can lead to arguments, defensiveness and even more resentment. Don’t worry though, it doesn’t have to be that way.

How to tackle a difference of parenting opinion

Instead of letting another argument break out next time you have a difference of opinion, try the following steps to reach a peaceful conclusion:

  1. Wait

If your partner has just done or said something you disagree with, now might not be the time to discuss it. Sometimes it’s best to make a note to discuss something later one. Instead of trying to have a chat about it while you’re trying to make dinner, tidy the house and entertain a baby, give yourself time to discuss it properly after baby’s bedtime.

  1. Be open minded

In order to have a constructive chat about parenting styles, you both need to be willing to open your minds. Being defensive will prevent real debate, leave people feeling hurt and, most importantly, not get you very far. You need to be able to talk openly and honestly without fear of an argument. Remember, it’s ok to disagree. Just because you are both the parents, doesn’t mean you both share the same experiences, beliefs or ideologies.

  1. Be fair

Don’t start by telling your partner everything you felt he did wrong today. Instead, simply talk about the event which bothered you. This isn’t about blame, you’re not perfect either. All parents have bad days and make bad choices, but good parents are able to sit down, analyze these mishaps and come up with a better plan for next time.

  1. Prove it

If you read more parenting books, blogs and articles than your partner, it’s time to get your research hat on. Back up the points you’re making, and explain how you feel the situation could have been handled differently. Give examples of things that could have been said differently, or how your child might have felt during the event. Again, it is important to do this without blame. Include examples of how you too have made similar mistakes, and how you rectified them.

  1. It’s ok to be different

You and your partner aren’t going to agree on everything all of the time. There may be some things that you simply can’t see eye-to-eye on. When that’s music or tv, it’s not such a big deal, but what about when it’s parenting style? It’s ok for your partner to disagree with you on certain aspects of parenting, and it’s fine for you to parent differently sometimes. Instead, focus on your similarities and find parenting methods you can both agree on.

Do you and your partner parent differently? And if so, has this caused tension in your relationship?

Written by Fiona (@Fiona_Peacock), mother, writer and lover of all things baby related.

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2016. All rights reserved.