Navigating Different Parenting Styles
It would be no surprise to you if I told you that all people are different. You probably parent with somebody who, at one stage at least, you found enough similarity that you wanted to share time with them spend time with. Many of us parent with people who we love or loved, at some point, but it can be a shock to us when we start raising children that some values differ at a profound level.
When we start to raise our children, co-parent these value differences can lead to conflicts. And it is true not just to parents who are separated. We can be parenting together in the same house and have very different values.
Sometimes this doesn't become evident until our children are older. Parents may have similar ideas about looking after a baby or a toddler, and things could change in the early school years or the teenage years.
Differences in views on raising children can be frustrating, stubborn and make parenting decisions very, very difficult. You both are trying to do your best for the children, and it ends up in a clash.
It can be hard to see how somebody with a completely opposing view to you got to that conclusion with the same information as you have. What's interesting is it often connected with our experiences growing up. We prioritise certain pieces of information and ignore other bits.
When this happens, it might be helpful to shift the focus of the conversation from parenting styles to children’s needs.
Instead of debating about playful parenting vs. they should do as they told parenting, you can join forces in figuring out what is going on for your children at that moment and how your preferred way of parenting is meeting their needs. Circle of Security Parenting framework is a great tool to help take the guesswork out of this process.
For most of us, we share similar interests, values, and priorities with the other parent in part, but we are rarely agree about everything. Deep down we know this, but when we're trying to parent together, that can cause conflict because we're influencing our children, and they might be getting mixed messages and conflicting opinions. Sometimes there is an advantage in that for them, and other times they find it very difficult.
So, different parenting styles exist and can coexist quite happily, and we can look for a situation everybody can work with. We can start by spotting each of your strengths. When you know your and the other parent's strengths it makes it easier to appreciate what each one of you brings to the mix and work as a team. That creates a good foundation to explore it further and find a way that works for you in your unique situation.