No One Wins with Inconsistent Parenting

It is not uncommon to have a difference of opinion when raising children. Our own values, upbringing, and current ideas all influence how we raise our children today. The problem is not in disagreeing with your spouse; the problem is how you handle the overall situation. Even when you do not see eye to eye you have to find a way to compromise. Inconsistent parenting is not beneficial to anyone involved.

When addressing children you need to present yourself as a unified front. Children have a sixth sense; they can smell fear and weakness. Children will sense what they can get from one parent and they will inevitably pit you against one another to get what they want. By being inconsistent with your parenting style you are only confusing the children. When there is no sense of boundaries it creates the problem of your children always wanting to test you. If you do not set limits they will try to set their own.

Tell yourself that it is okay to have a difference of opinion on a particular issue. After all we are all individuals that are trying to raise an entirely new independent individual. When it comes to parenting remember you are working together as a team.

Do not place blame on your spouse. Placing blame only leads to the other person getting defensive. No one wants to feel undermined; no one wants to feel like they are wrong when it comes to parenting.

Make sure you outline what the actual problem is. Without knowing what the underlining issue is, it is impossible to come up with solutions. Discuss the pros and cons of each situation. Find the balance between the two. For instance, perhaps you feel your 12 year-old is not old enough to go to the mall with friends without your supervision. On the other hand your husband says they will be find, let them go. The compromise could be you taking them to the mall, but giving them a little leeway. Let them walk around a few stores with their friends without you being directly there. Have them check in with you at a specific time. If things go well, perhaps give them a little more freedom. Set grounds rules; for example you can tell them not leave the mall for any reason. This can help ease your mind a little more.

The discussions about the children should be done behind closed doors for many reasons. For one the children do not need the burden of feeling like they are the reason their parents are disagreeing. Secondly one parent will ultimately come out the good one in the situation and you do not want your children to know that either! Be flexible if your initial suggestion does not work out. Make sure you are prepared to approach the situation from a fresh new angle. Raising children in itself is a life long journey; go into it with a partner.

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