Parenting should be a teamwork
By Josephine Oguntoyinbo
Disagreements in parenting styles can be a major source of frustration for families because when two people get married, they rarely talk about the specific plan of how they intend to raise their children.
Couples must note that child-rearing is a sensitive and complicated issue, and many argue about just how to properly raise their children. But for children, major parental disagreement is a source of mixed messages and confusion that may undermine the attitude, values and behaviours parents hope to teach.
In order to provide consistency for the children and avoid confusing them, you and your spouse must try to have a ‘united front’ about important issues you feel can make for a more harmonious marriage as well as a better atmosphere for your children.
Speaking with Feminine line on this issue, a counsellor, Mrs Toyin Aderogba posited that it is normal for one parent to be more strict, since they come from different family backgrounds. She however affirmed that parenting disputes cannot be overlooked, as it plays a major role in about 20 percent of divorce.
According to her, most couples have the attitude of saying my parents raised me this way and I turned out just fine and I will raise my children that same way while the person they married have different idea and attitude due to how he or she was raised.
“Therefore, the real problems begin when these two parents have a child and their parenting styles begin to clash. What usually happens is that one parent tends to be more strict and the other parent is more lenient, then the strict parent will always get angry when the lenient parent allows too much freedom. Likewise, the lenient parent will get upset when the strict parent is too restrictive.
“Couples must understand that the relationship between both of them is more important. They must work together as a team to raise the children,” she stated.
She stressed the need for couples to speak with one voice to raise the children rather than showing higher priority or interest.
“It would be better if couples could have conversations about child-rearing, specifically how to handle discipline and behaviour issue, but most spouses do not discuss until they are actually raising children.
“It is advisable for couples to discuss on what they really want in terms of parenting to avert disagreement,” she opined.
Advising those who are already married, she warned that child rearing should not become a battle among couples.
“Couples must identify what is undermining each other’s in parenting and must be willing to work on it, this step will bring both of you back on track.
“If one of you is strict and the other lenient, both of you should support each other, feeling confident that both of you have best intentions towards getting results.
“You can both benefit from discussing on what to do with the children and be on the same page in terms of parenting,” she said.
Studies shows that the children of a couple with a loving supportive relationship, backing each other up as parents, but have marginal parenting skills will be better off than a couple that is at war, but knows all the greatest parenting tools and skills.
Parents as role models and leaders must set good examples for children to emulate. Though dealing with different behaviour of toddlers or teens can be challenging in any family, especially when the couple are at different ends of discipline spectrum, but everyone loses when there is no understanding.
Couples must endeavour to identify the aspects of parenting and discipline in which both of you do agree. You will be more successful by beginning with the foundation of where you do agree rather than focusing energy on the many areas you disagree.
Also, couples must explore the underlying reasons why they disagree on parenting and discipline issues, once you both understand why you disagree, you can work towards solving the problems to achieve a common goal.
While tackling the day to day discipline dilemmas, you must ask yourselves the question “What do we want our child to learn” from this experience, it helps you to focus on what will be more helpful for your child. “It is not about winning, it is about teaching your child to make the best choices in the future and equally learn from his or her mistakes along the way.
You can also seek for support from experts because when couples continue to disagree on parenting, then you must consider a parenting education course. There is nothing more important than your family. Find support to help you align as a team.
It is also important to choose ways to make your partner feel valuable and needed in parenting. Ask your partner his opinion or advice on decisions you have to make about your children.
Decide to make your children’s interest more important than claiming ‘right’. You do not need to be in competition with your husband over parenting. May you enjoy a blissful home.