Raising Children: Agreeing with Your Partner
When a couple decides to become parents and start raising children, their stories become even more intimately intertwined. The way they were each brought up becomes evident, with their beliefs, fears and wishes tied up in their kids.
One of the greatest challenges a couple will ever face is finding common ground when it comes to raising children.
Raising children: possible obstacles
When it comes time to decide on the best way to raise children, couples are often faced with one of two scenarios:
- The parents are in complete disagreement on child-rearing. Sometimes, the parents were raised in dramatically different ways. For this reason, out of a desire to do what’s best for the child, they will become inflexible, wanting to impose their own point of view. In these cases, the partners have a hard time seeing things from the other’s perspective.
- They agree, but one parent is more permissive than the other. This situation is a constant source of conflict among couples. Often, rules are set, but one parent is stricter when it comes to enforcing them. This can cause children to feel insecure, as they need clear and loving limits in order to develop physically, intellectually, and emotionally.
When children receive mixed messages and witness their parents fighting, they feel untethered. This can lead them to use these disagreements for personal gain.
Strategies for agreeing on how to raise children
- Talk about the experience you had growing up, and the kind you want to create now that you’re a parent. You don’t need to repeat any given formula. You’re part of a new family and you need to find the approaches you feel comfortable with.
- Agree on the limits you want to set for your children. Discuss these privately at first and then make the child aware of the rules, as well as the consequences for not following them, if any.
- When one parent comes into conflict with the child, the other should remain on the sidelines. Listen and wait for an opportunity to speak privately. If there are disagreements, so be it. Try to engage in a peaceful dialogue without losing sight of the fact that the children’s well-being is your first priority.
- Just as with children, it’s important to set clear limits when it comes to your partner. Both of you need to know the lines that cannot be crossed.
- Never blame problems on your children. After all, children are the ones who suffer the most when parents fight. Put yourself in their shoes and refrain from idealizing your life before parenthood. The child isn’t the cause of your disagreements.
- Let your children know that their parents want only the best for them. Let them know that you’re a team despite the fact that you may not always agree. Children need to feel like they can rely on both parents and that you’re working to raise them as best you can.
3. If you have a disagreement in front of the children, it’s not the end of the world. Take advantage of the experience to sit down and analyze the situation. This will help you find the best way to act the next time conflict arises.
Don’t fall prey to ego-related struggles. Ultimately, it’s not about being right or winning an argument. It’s about finding solutions and coming to agreements about how to raise your children.
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