Parenting...sometimes the struggles have NOTHING to do with the kids!
Jim says, "If she would just set the rules and stick with them, the kids would behave better."
To which Sue replies, "Me?! How about you stop nagging at everyone? The kids will get their
chores done eventually."
Parenting isn't easy, especially when each parent has a different parenting style! Each parent believes they are right, so what can we do to settle this conflict?
Going backwards to move forward...
"The only time we argue is when it's something about the kids." Jim and Sue are a great couple and their family is doing well except for the issue of disciplining the kids. So often, when parents are fighting "about the kids" the conflict isn't even about the kids, it's about their style of parenting.
Unfortuntely, kids don't come with instructions! As parents, especially first time parents, we rely on what we learned from our own parents. The challenge begins when we each believe that our way is the best way. When we then try to co-parent, things can get messy.
"Well, my parents raised me and I turned out fine!" Well, yes that's true, but your spouse feels the same way about his upbringing. The secret is to take the best practices from each of your childhoods and find a blend that works for your own children.
Seeing the trees and then the forest ...
My work with Jim and Sue began with individual consultations to break their arguments down to specific, concrete issues. What starts out as a little disagreement can easily blow up into accusations, fault finding and blaming in an effort to prove that our own ideas are the "right way" of doing things. We can't parent as a team if we're busy proving the other person is wrong!
What can improve the situation?
Learn "why" your partner parents the way he does, it will help in understanding the discord between the two of you
Learn how to actively listen without the filter of your own parenting style (you can't truly listen to and understand your spouse if you're still set that your way is best!)
Have a parent coach assist in negotiating towards parenting as a team, this will lead to co-parenting more effectively
Moving forward in baby steps...
Part of my work as a parent coach is to help parents find common groud. We need to discover what they do well individually and also as a couple. If we take small successes and apply those same principals to the bigger picture (their areas of struggle) then we're problem solving the issue instead of the argument.
As parents learn to listen more effectively, communicate their concerns more clearly and brainstorm solutions together, they will present a united front to their children. Is it as easy as it sounds on paper? Of course not! Forgiveness, negotiation and improved communication skills are all necessary, but the cost of this work results in a strong family foundation.
The ultimate goal is to get parents working as a team in their approach to everything from communication to discipline. It can be a challenge, but when we dig in together, the partnership and the family strengthens and flourishes!
Be sure to watch for announcements of Dare to Parent's upcoming workshops on co-parenting and blended families! (Sign up for our newsletter and you'll be the first to know when registration opens!)
If you need a fresh perspective or new strategies for your parenting concerns, contact me today to set up a consultation!