Skip to Content

When Parents Disagree on Parenting

When parents disagree on parenting

Parents don’t often talk about the specifics of child-rearing until it’s already upon them, and who knows how many now-divorced couples would have split before children if they’d had these conversations. Parenting disagreements are a top cause of marital strife.

Why? Parenting styles reflect lots of things in a person: how they were brought up, how they see the world and even their political views. 

Screen-time, discipline and junk food are the main contenders in parental bust-ups, with the stricter parent often ending up being the ‘bad guy’ and the more lenient one equally as upset. For many couples, these disagreements are only increasing as they find themselves homeschooling their children and spending more time than ever in the same space. 

If you’re finding that you and your partner are having more disagreements than ever on how to raise your children, Lucy from the blog VagLife has some tips on how to resolve these arguments before they happen. 

Your parenting style says a lot about you. And it’s important that you have a conversation about child-raising styles with your partner, whether you already have children with them or are planning to in future. Understanding the root of why Mom is super strict about screen time, or why Dad won’t let his daughter date will allow each parent to be more empathetic to the other, which will reduce anger when disagreements happen. 

Parenting disagreements infographic

1. Calm communication

Communication is key here, so it’s important to ensure that each person feels like their opinion is valued and heard. Leave space for your partner to be seen. 

If you’re both struggling for time, make sure you carve out an hour as often as you need. For some people, this will be once a week to start with but can easily go down to once a month when you find you’re back on the same page.

Make sure the kids aren’t with you for these chats too – this time should be uninterrupted.

2. Support Each Other 

You might find there’s a pattern in how you parent your children differently: whenever the lenient parent has time with the kids, the more strict parent becomes stricter (and vice versa). If you feel like you’re constantly trying to outweigh the other’s parenting style to create the perfect equilibrium, that’s a constant battle.

And trust me, the children are picking up on it!

Instead, if you start supporting each other consistently, trust will develop between you and you’ll find that the constant fight to be the better parent will be over. While it can take time to get there, clear communication and support will make for an overall happier family. 

3. List Things That Make Them A Great Parent

If you’ve been at war over parenting for a long time, it can be difficult to see past all the things you think your partner is doing wrong. Go back to basics and create a list of the things which makes them a great parent, and they can be as simple as ‘They love the kids’ or ‘They are great at communicating with the kids’.

This can be particularly useful if you’re in the process of working out custody after divorce, or if you have recently split from your partner. The list method will help you to take your personal feelings out of the conversation and instead focus on the children. 

when parents disagree on parenting pinterest image

4. The Signal

Do you find that you’re often disagreeing in front of your children? Rather having an argument that your children will be witness to, create a quick and easy non-verbal signal that means ‘We’re not going to agree, let’s discuss later.’

If your children are right there, wanting an immediate answer, make sure that you communicate to them that there will be a decision, just not immediately. Speaking to your children about how you have to speak to your partner before coming to a decision reinforces that you are on the same page. 

Parenting disagreements: The final word

Photo of happy family of 5, image for "When Parents Disagree on Parenting."

Do you want a peaceful home life? Where siblings are polite to each other, nobody sweats the small stuff and everyone feels listened to.

Well, your relationship with your partner sets the tone for how your home life will be and, the likelihood is, how your children’s life will be when they start families of their own. End the parenting war now by simply communicating with and listening to your partner.

You’ll be amazed how much happier of a household you’ll create. 

*Edited by Sue Denym

Sharing is caring!