The Do's and Don'ts of Handling Parenting Disagreements
Raising a child is not all that easy. There will be moments when you and your spouse may not see eye to eye on certain issues, leading to heated disagreements. During these times, it shouldn't matter whether who wins or loses the argument. What's more important is to keep your child's best interests in mind. When you're in the throes of such a disagreement, it is essential to fight fair. Bianca Locsin, partner and consultant at Better Steps Psychology, shares a couple of do's and don'ts for moms and dads who find themselves with opposing views on parenting. Better Steps Psychology is composed of Filipino psychologists and mental health professionals that promotes mental and holistic wellness for all.
Do practice consistency.
"It is important to be consistent among yourselves and across similar situations when dealing with parenting issues," says Locsin.
She adds, "Be consistent. If your partner is not, never tell him off in front of your kids."
Do take the time to resolve the disagreement among yourselves first.
Locsin says, "When you and your spouse disagree, take the time to resolve your disagreement first and find a compromise before facing your child. When trying to come up with a resolution for the issue, discuss what the end goal of each parent is for the child regarding the issue. Clarifying goals of each parent serves to create a better understanding of each side. If spouses find themselves with the same end goal, it encourages a collaborative effort on execution or dealing with the issue."
Do discuss things thoroughly.
"Make sure that you and your partner are fully engaged in the discussion, and no one is being forced or pressured to agree with the other, or is simply agreeing for the sake of finishing the discussion or avoiding a fight," she says.
Don't undermine each other’s authority.
"When a parent already says yes or no to something, follow through with it or suspend giving your child the opposite decision until such time that you are able to talk to your spouse. If your child is asking for something, ask your child what the other parent said first before making a decision. This way, your child understands that you are in a partnership and your spouse’s decision is important to you, and that you make decisions together."
She adds, "Never say 'well, if it was up to me…' or 'I would have let you but your dad…'"
Do respect what you've both agreed on.
"When an agreement has been reached between you and your partner, follow through on it. Avoid making additional comments to your child if you aren’t fully satisfied by the decision, either you go back and talk to your spouse about it or you accept the mutual resolution that the both of you came up with," she says.
Do show a united front always.
If you want to parent as a team, then communicate your expectations to each other from the very beginning, says Locsin. Agree beforehand about who is responsible for deciding about specific issues. Talk about discipline and agree on measures that you are both okay with.
"Always show that you are a united force. Say things like 'your father and I have agreed to…' or 'Your mom and I both believe that…'"