Viewpoints about the right way to parent our children often have so much baggage that, if the baggage was physical, we’d need a truck to haul it around.
Your views about the right way to parent are influenced by the way you were raised, because you’re often trying to either replicate or run away from what was normal in your own childhood. That’s why raising children can bring up strong emotions and desires you forgot long ago.
It can feel personally threatening to have your parenting methods challenged.
When you are parenting with a partner or a co-parent, your strong feelings and preferences are multiplied by the number of people inhabiting a parent role in your child’s life. Those feelings can interfere with your ability to work together. You may find it difficult to understand why your partner feels the way they do, or why what makes sense to your co-parent makes zero sense to you. Not to mention that it’s sometimes hard for you to fully comprehend why you have the feelings, reactions, and values you have in your own parenting!
Shouldn’t you be able to parent the way you think is best?
Of course! However, (and you knew this was coming) you are not your child’s only parent. All parents in a kids’ life have the right to raise that child. That means it’s important to work through parenting differences and find some common ground. If you aren’t able to resolve or reconcile these differences, it can create relationship conflicts between parents and in the parent-child dynamic that ultimately can harm your child. As an involved and caring parent, that is obviously the very last thing you want.
Are there ways to resolve parenting difference, avoid parenting conflicts, and work harmoniously for the benefit of our child?
Yes, there are, and you won’t have to compromise your deeply held values to achieve that goal. As a parent, you want what is best for your child. Your desire to parent your child in your own way is because you believe your child will end up healthier and happier as a result. That’s the primary reason you feel so attached to parenting in your preferred way.
The trick is, your child’s other parent(s) feel exactly the same way!
Being able to see and understand the other’s perspective, and having your perspective understood in turn, is the key to finding workable solutions to the parenting differences in your unique family situation.
You are totally capable of raising your child well.
Developing good communication skills so that disagreements do not devolve into tension and discord is an important aspect of great parenting skills.
We know parents are doing the best they can with the information and experience they have. We also recognize that most parents don’t have the time to keep up with all the various research and parenting literature that could help them enhance their parenting skills and resolve their parenting differences. Not to mention that communication skills in adult relationships are already challenging in general!
When you work with an Affinity therapist, we become a part of your parenting team.
We can help point you to information about how certain parenting styles lead to certain outcomes. We can help you understand and practice different communication techniques that allow multiple perspectives to be heard and respected so that you can work through parenting conflicts.
We’re not saying you have to do what the research indicates is best. You are right there, in the midst of the situation, which is the best place to make the final decision. When you feel like that final decision is well-informed and respects all the voices in the room, you will feel more empowered and confident in your parenting decisions. Your relationship with your partner or co-parent will be strengthened. And, as a bonus, you will be modeling excellent conflict resolution skills for your child as well!
Unresolved parenting conflicts and tension in the home aren’t good for you or your child, especially when they’re about how you’re going to parent that child. Children need firm yet flexible boundaries so that they can experiment, push against limits, and continue to be safe and loved as they figure out their place in their family and the world.
If you’d like to get started with one of us as part of your parenting team, schedule with us or contact us today to get started.