How to Resolve Communication Problems Among Parents
Communication problems among parents can cause misunderstandings that constitute severe problems within a family. The relationship between parents deteriorates and children feel insecure because they can"t completely trust their parents.
It"s not necessarily an issue of one parent taking the same side as the other parent. On occasion, it"s about one parent not backing up the other in front of their children.
Even when parents aren"t in agreement about something, in particular, they still need to support one another. If they have any differences regarding their children"s education, they should talk about it in private, not in front of their kids.
When there"s a lack of support in communication
When one parent doesn"t back up the other or offer his or her support in certain circumstances, it"s normal for children to see him or her as “the bad one" or “the weak one," etc.
Communication problems among parents aren"t just about arguing in front of your children. Most of the time, it includes subtle behaviors or communication “styles" that send a harmful message.
Many parents have a hard time dealing with the problem because they don"t know how to express their discomfort with words. Often, they have the “feeling" that they"re not in a cooperative situation, but they can"t clearly see the pattern.
Types of communication problems among parents
There are some types of communication and behaviors in parents that can cause problems. It"s important to keep these types in mind so that parents can recognize whether or not they"re experiencing them. Some of the types of communication that can cause problems are the following:
In a game of cards, the player that wins has a card that beats all the rest. This person always wants to have the final say about childraising or about a disciplinary situation regarding the other parents. Sometimes, this happens when the other person becomes the new authority figure in the conversation by yelling or imposing a punishment.
In other situations, the cardholder may complain that the other parent is childish or treat the other parent as a child. It"s important for parents to show their children that they"re on the same page during a discipline situation. However, a cardholder will undermine the other parent"s authority.
The false security
Under the erroneous sensation that one parent is causing a child to suffer emotionally, the other will assume the role of offering false security – providing some type of relief during a difficult situation. Parents may also try to offer their children false security in other ways.
For example, this parent may allow the child to use the computer after it"s been prohibited, or give attention or comfort when the child"s in the middle of a tantrum. Offering true false security is reducing your own feelings of discomfort or anxiety onto the child"s situation.
The parent analyzer
Parent analyzers will have private conversations with their children regarding the other parent. They may outright complain about the other parent or use less obvious tactics. For example, they may say things like “I don"t like it when he"s in a bad mood either."
This childraising approach keeps the analyzer from having a direct conversation with his or her partner about what"s bothering him or her. In situations where parental behavior is truly dangerous, analyzers will communicate with their children this way rather than taking the terrifying step of getting out of the situation.
This type of communication involves gathering with other people in the family to talk negatively about a parent that"s trying to affirm his or her authority. At the dinner table, the alienator may even encourage children to disagree with the other parent"s point of view.
At times, the alienator will subtly encourage all of the children to gang up against the other parent. Given that the alienator is generally in a position where he or she can relieve the authority in a situation, the children will naturally align with him or her. It"s crucial that parents resolve these problems as soon as possible.
“The greatest marriages are built on teamwork. A mutual respect, a healthy dose of admiration, and a never-ending portion of love and grace."
– Fawn Weaver –
How to resolve communication problems among parents
It"s almost impossible to deal with communication problems among parents in the middle of a childraising situation. Trying to address the childraising mistake often ends in an argument or a premature end in order to resolve the child"s situation.
When families grow, these unresolved communication issues become even more complex. With that in mind, the simple suggestions below can help parents get on the right track regarding communication and shared childraising:
- Analyze the essential elements beforehand. Compare lists regarding childhood behaviors that are “unacceptable" and those that deserve lighter consequences. Each parent must balance the positive and negative consequences, using them together.
- Don"t create the role of “the bad parent." This is a role that neither of the parents should have to play. Even if this role feels more comfortable for one of the parents, it"s important to avoid this dynamic. Don"t step in unless the other parent asks you to. In other words, during a conflict between one parent and the child, the other parent should stay out unless he or she"s invited in. You may feel more equipped to deal with the situation, but you undermine your partner"s capacity to resolve the problem and see the situation through to the end.
When it comes to communication problems among parents, don"t forget…
- If you don"t agree on something, openly recognize your respect for the other parent"s opinion. Open disagreements between parents don"t signify bad parenting. And, as long as you go about it the right way, it teaches children how to handle disagreements.
- Assign important consequences after an argument. There"s no rule that says that parents can"t take time to talk about the consequences of a child"s behavior before assigning them. So, take a few minutes to come to an agreement on appropriate consequences. And, what"s more, come to an agreement regarding how to encourage your children to change the behavior in the future.
- Avoiding harmful disagreements and presenting a united front leads to better results with children. Achieving this level of communication with your partner is an objective that requires effort. It also takes courage to change, as well as the understanding that when you work together, everybody wins.
“Unity is strength… when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved."
– Mattie Stepanek –