Expert advice

How to Thrive as Partners with Different Parenting Styles

Last Updated:
August 29, 2023

We don’t agree with everything our partners say and do, and parenting is no different.

As parents, it's common to encounter differences in parenting styles when raising children together. Each partner brings their unique background, experiences, and beliefs into the family, which can lead to conflicting approaches. And when the topic is something as important and sensitive as your kids, even the most laid-back couples can find themselves in serious distress over the disagreement.

Kids see everything, the most influential form of education we can offer them is modeling, so it’s especially important that we learn how to handle differences having to do with them directly. The key to successfully navigating these challenges is to learn how to parent as a team, despite your differences (instead of trying to make the differences disappear, or try to “win”.)

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Let’s explore practical strategies to foster a harmonious parenting dynamic and provide a stable environment for your children.

  1. Find Common Ground

Children thrive in an environment where rules and expectations are clear and consistent. It's essential for parents to find common ground and establish a unified front. Take time to privately discuss areas where you don't agree and work together to reach a compromise. By presenting a united front, you create a sense of security and predictability for your children, reducing confusion and behavior problems.

  1. Communicate Regularly

Make regularly and frequently to discuss current family issues, schedules, and needs. Additionally, set aside dedicated moments to talk about larger concerns and long-term plans, such as changes in bedtime routines, allowances, or granting more responsibilities and privileges as your children grow older. These discussions can help you align your parenting goals and avoid misunderstandings. When you make the time and avoid having these discussions on the go, you reduce the chances of being unpleasantly surprised by your partner’s approach when it’s time to make a decision and everybody’s stressed.

  1. Don't Put the Kids in the Middle

Remember that the ultimate priority is to provide a happy family life and be role models for respectful problem-solving. Also, discourage any attempts by your children to play one parent against the other, as this can increase tension and negatively affect family dynamics. Kids aren’t aware of the affect this tactic has. They just sense this can get them closer to their short term goal, it’s our job as experienced adults to not play ball.

  1. Disagree Privately

It's normal to have different ideas about parenting strategies. However, it's essential to handle disagreements privately. Avoid discussing these matters in front of your children, as it can undermine your partner's authority and create confusion for your kids. Allow your partner to discipline the children without interruption or interference to demonstrate a united and consistent approach. As long as nothing violent is happening, being able to wait it out and discuss in private has great value both for your kids, and your romantic relationship.

  1. Support and Understand Each Other Better

Take the time to discuss what you appreciate about each other's parenting styles. Identify ways you can support each other in your parenting journey and discuss areas where you both can improve. Delve into your own childhood experiences and how your parents' styles influence your present approach to parenting. Understanding each other's perspectives can lead to empathy and a stronger connection as partners and parents.

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While differences in parenting styles are normal, addressing them collaboratively is crucial for the well-being of your family. By finding common ground, communicating openly, supporting each other, and presenting a united front, you can navigate the challenges of parenting as partners with different styles. Remember, parenting is a continuous learning process, and by working together, you can create a loving and stable environment for your children to thrive.

If you feel like you need some help thriving as partners while navigating the challenges that parenting brings to the table, Ritual has your back with programs dedicated to parents and better communication. Try it out with our 14-day money-back guarantee and schedule your welcome session risk-free