If you’re a parent then you know parenting is one of the most rewarding yet painstaking tasks ever. Children show us a love we’ve never known, they give us laughter and joy, cause a lot of frustration and stress and sometimes make us feel downright crazy. There is not greater gift than being a parent but also no greater responsibility. Children look to us for comfort, strength, support, and most importantly – love. A big part of showing them love is ensuring they grow up to be sufficient, healthy human beings. One way to direct them is discipline. According to this article by Vanderbilt University, there are four different types of parenting styles:
This parenting style provides one of the healthiest environments for children by having high expectations but also a productive parent – child relationship. This fosters open communication but uses discipline when necessary.
This style is the most harmful. There is little or no attention, care or structure given the the child. It destroys the child’s trust for other relationships and can be physically damaging.
This style of parenting can be very loving and comforting but demonstrates poor boundaries and lacks any type of discipline. These parents tend to have little to no rules and struggle with boundaries, leaving the child with no understanding of consequences.
This can be a scary type of parenting for children. This style provides a strict set of rules, but leaves little room for communication. This upholds the idea of “Children are to be seen not heard” mentality. Many of these children experience low self-esteem and find it difficult connecting social settings.
So what do you do if you and your partner have a different parenting style?
Identify which style you tend to lean towards.
First, understand how you parent and how your partner parents. Have and open discussion about it. Perhaps even explore why you think you have the tendency to parent as you do – hint: you probably learned it from what your parents did or didn’t do with you.
Stand united in front of your children.
Parents who support one another during a time of discipline will demonstrate consistency, containment and healthy boundaries to the children. It can help discourage children from manipulating their parents. If you need to discuss it later in private, that’s okay, but try to maintain a united front when children are watching.
If you don’t agree with your partner on a rule, how to discipline or their parenting style all together – talk about it. Discuss the importance of certain rules, your expectations and then ask them about their feelings and ideas. Don’t forget to listen – even I you don’t agree. Try to understand their perspective and create new rules and expectations if needed.
Ask for help.
If you can’t find a compromise or create rules and boundaries you can both be happy with, it’s okay to ask for help. A therapist can help lend different perspectives and help you understand each other in a different way.
If you’re a parent, we have no doubt that you love your kids. We also know what a struggle parenting can sometimes feel like and we also know relationships can be tough. Becoming parents is one of the most difficult changes a couple can go through – it’s ok to need help. If you’d like more information on a team of highly trained therapists who I personally recommend, check out their biographies here.