I don't like how my partner parents! When you have different parenting styles...Aug 04, 2022
Do you think your parenting partner is too strict, or too lenient? We all have opinions about the best way to parent, and it’s not uncommon to disagree with our partners about how to raise and discipline our kids. But we can run into a problem when we are parenting in response to our partner, spouse, or co-parent — and then end up too far in the opposite direction.
This was an issue that I helped one of my mom clients recently work through. In our first session, she shared that her parenting style was different from her spouse’s and it was a point of contention between them.
Her partner’s discipline style leans more toward authoritarian and is firm on consequences. Because the mom thinks that her partner is too strict, she finds herself trying to compensate and ends up being too permissive. She is tuned into their child’s feelings but does not hold boundaries or follow through on consequences.
She thinks her partner is too strict, and her partner feels that she is too lenient.
And neither is most effective for their kids.
Through coaching, my client came to the realization that she was parenting in response to her partner’s style and shared that she thought her partner was likely doing the same. They were ending up at opposite extremes to compensate for the other and it was creating issues in their home, with their kids, and with their relationship.
I asked how she wanted to show up as a parent. Then we worked on how she can be emotionally responsive, tuning into her children’s feelings while still holding boundaries, to be the parent that she wants to be. This style of parenting and discipline is called authoritative, and according to researchers, yields the most positive results.
My client is making changes and finding that she is now far more effective and her children are more responsive. She is now parenting based on what is most effective and best for her children, and not in response to her partner. She is becoming the parent that she wanted to be which has her feeling better and more confident — and it’s created a positive ripple so she continues to parent better and better. In the process, things are getting easier and more peaceful at home and with her partner.
I invite you to take a few moments to reflect on your discipline style and that of your parenting partner. Do you have opinions about how your partner disciplines and parents, and does that affect how you parent? Do you find that you try to compensate one way or the other — and it’s causing chaos and issues — and you’re not very effective?
It all starts with awareness. Once you gain awareness of how your partner’s parenting style affects your parenting, you can start parenting more intentionally and not in reaction to or compensation for your parent partner. Awareness and intentionality can create a positive ripple that leads to more peace with your kids, in your home, and in your head.
If this is something that you struggle with or it’s a source of stress and frustration, please reach out to me. This is one of the more complicated issues that I coach parents through, and it’s hard to work through it on your own. Visit melpeirce.com for more information or click here to line up a free call to discuss your situation and find out how I can help.
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