“My partner and I do not agree”: how to negotiate when there are discrepancies about parenting

-Can I stay five more minutes awake?
-Sure
-How is that "clear"? Bedtime is bedtime.

Your partner may like horror movies and you don't. I might prefer to go to the field and you to the beach. It may be more sweet and you salty. The differences between the two members of the couple are common, but, What happens when the discrepancies are around parenting guidelines? Can it harm our son?

It is common that we do not share all our tastes with our partner, that we have personalities, styles of doing things and even different philosophy of life. These differences may have gone unnoticed or that do not involve a great conflict in the relationship, but when we talk about discrepancies in terms of parenting and education of children, the thing is complicated. Reaching agreements when we start from different perspectives, or even opposite, is one of the major challenges that the couple undergoes when the children arrive.

There are several aspects that make us position ourselves strongly in our way of understanding parenting:

  • In the "how to educate" converge Our values, beliefs, personality, education received ... that is, there is much in it about ourselves and our way of seeing the world, hence we strongly defend our point of view.

  • It involves a third person, our little one, and we always want the best for him.

  • The perceived responsibility The consequences that our decisions will have on our child will be very high, so that they carry a huge emotional burden on the parents.

On the other hand, although there were already aspects in the couple in which there was no agreement, this is one we can not run from: we can not see that movie together if we do not like both, but we can not stop educating our son Because we disagree. That is, the inability to avoid or ignore this issue It makes it more powerful in terms of its influence on the relationship.

What to do when we have different parenting styles?

The key, the main and most important, is that although there are discrepancies there is team feeling and let's face common. How?

Before the children:

  • Do not argue, fight, in front of children (Another thing is to maintain a dialogue about our opinions and show them that an agreement can be reached)
  • Do not discredit your partner in front of the child, with that we are conveying the idea that they may not comply with our decisions.
  • Support the other: It is important to show unity and coherence with children. And if it really is something that you don't agree with, speak it later, alone.

To the parents:

  • Set priorities, choose which topics are really important and which are not, or less. We cannot be in everything or pretend to do everything as we want, so it is interesting to ask what aspects we do not agree with are really significant for us.
  • Review your ideas and beliefs regarding parenting, ask them: sometimes we get carried away by the inertia of what we have learned, of what we have seen, but we have not stopped to meditate on its usefulness or benefits. Discrepancies in the couple are the perfect excuse for reflection.
  • Set your limits, of course you have them, but express them with delicacy, not as an attack or belittling your partner's opinion.
  • Remember that your partner is a person different from you, with his personality, his values, his beliefs ... respect It is absolutely fundamental.
  • In private, and negotiating, establish a series of basic rules, about essential aspects for daily functioning, and then, little by little, go on dealing with other issues.

The key is respect and negotiation. How to reach an agreement?

  • Before making decisions, calmly pose your positions
  • Indicate, with respect, your views
  • Search (creatively, with a positive attitude) solutions to the conflict, options with which both of you feel comfortable.
  • Take from that list of solutions the one that you like or that has more advantages, and put it into practice, both, as team.
  • Do not boycott the decision: although it is not the option we liked the most, it makes no sense to boycott it, that will create a climate of mutual distrust.
  • Value the results: how is it working, are we happy with it? Ideally, chat again on the subject and make a common sharing to assess the maintenance of this guideline and / or to adjust future decisions.
  • Reinforce yourself mutually for having reached an agreement. It is not always easy, so remembering that you have achieved it is positive.

Avoid the "war mode"

  • It's not a competition, you both want the best for your son
  • You yourself have changed and you change (more often than you think) your opinion. If fatherhood teaches us something, it is that we are not always right, that we make mistakes, but that we learn from them.
  • Try empathize with your partner: is it really so crazy what you propose?
  • There are no absolute truths.
  • Avoid the "no" system to what your partner proposes. Dialogue
  • We can't control everything, so we have to accept that there are small decisions that our partner will make when we are not present (different is whether they are aspects of great impact or important decisions, in which case it is convenient to negotiate).

The disagreement is not negative, but the conflict is

It is important that we make the distinction between both situations: one thing is to have conflicting opinions and another is to "fight", disrespect, shout ...

There are many studies that show that the conflict between parents creates difficulties in children. For example, in a study conducted by the University of Jaén and the University of Granada, they establish the relationship between conflict in the couple with aggressiveness and behavioral problems in children (especially in adolescents, but also in younger children).

More specifically, a study published by the Journal of Family Psychology concludes that exposure to clashes between parents produces emotional insecurity in children, and that could lead to anxiety and even depression.

The discrepancies can be positive

Differences in parenting styles and diversity of opinions between parents, as long as we manage them in a positive way, can be beneficial for our children. Show them that despite the differences we are able to reach agreements, that although we have different opinions we are a team and a unit with respect to them can favor that:

  • Learn that not everyone has the same opinion and that we must respect each other despite it.
  • It can serve to learn to negotiate (parents act as models for our children).
  • It shows that the differences can be complementary and therefore enriching, and not necessarily negative: different does not mean worse.
  • They can learn that there is no single way to solve things, which favors their creativity and cognitive flexibility.

There is no "perfect" couple in which there are no discrepancies, but you are a team and your child's well-being is the common goal. Being different is not negative, but let's do it right.

Photos: Pexles.com

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