Is there a good cop/bad cop in your house?
When parents clash over decisions or rules in the house, harmony is replaced with tension.
Laughter is replaced with silence.
Nothing gets resolved.
What would it be like to go from clash to compromise? Can you learn to work together to be successful, loving parents?
Table of Contents
How To Identify 5 Clashing Parenting Styles
You and your partner may have noticed or even quite liked how different you are before you had kids. One may have brought the other out of their shell or encouraged them to take chances.
Perhaps one inspired calm and clarity to situations and allowed for more sensible thinking.
What happens when two people with clashing parenting styles need to make important decisions?
What are clashing parenting styles?
You like the theatre, and they like the park.
You think it’s alright for your kids to play outside alone; they don’t.
Your partner doesn’t want a set of drums in the house to be ‘banged and bashed all day,’ you think it’s encouraging a hobby or passion.
You love each other, but you clash—a lot.
So how can you identify where it all goes wrong?
Let’s take a look at 5 clashing parenting styles.
The Road To Nowhere
You promised your kids you would all go to the beach for the day, but last-minute rain has swept in, and your partner thinks rain must stop all play. Is it vanity? Do they think they will catch a cold? Who knows.
Whatever it is, you aren’t going to the beach, and your kids aren’t happy. What now? You and your partner argue profusely over the right thing to do, and everybody ends up in a bad mood, and nobody goes anywhere.
A day wasted.
When you clash over little details like what is suitable, whether it is a toy, what to do to suit the weather, or even where to eat out for dinner, the result is often, ‘fine, we won’t go anywhere or do anything then.’
All plans are blown out, and nobody wins, least of all the kids.
Walking On Eggshells
Something is coming up, something that you need to discuss with your significant other. You know you need to make a decision, and you already feel like there will be a huge disagreement or upset about how you will achieve this ‘something’ together.
Do you find yourself tiptoeing?
Maybe you make their favorite breakfast or try and find ways to avoid any other disagreement or confrontation.
Walking on eggshells is never nice, and you cannot sustain it for long. Whatever the issue is that you are trying to either avoid or sweeten, it will need to be addressed simultaneously. Does it even work? When you get to the fork in the road where ‘the discussion’ occurs, will it all have been for nothing?
Avoiding issues only leads to caution and heightened anxiety.
Over time, parental clashes can lead to partnership wedges. You can put up stubborn boundaries, and neither refuses to back down or admit they were wrong or unreasonable. Whilst these may blow over in a day or two, these can stagnate in minds and build up over time, and before you know it, parenting clashes can lead to life clashes.
The arguments are the same ones whirring round and round, and without care or consideration, relationships can begin to crumble.
Holding onto anger is never healthy, especially where children and relationships are involved. Clashing due to parenting can provoke reoccurring themes, and these become tiresome.
Conflict becomes frustration, and that can be the catalyst for more serious issues if not corrected properly.
The Kids Suffer
Children blame themselves for arguments.
They hold responsibility, and they do pick up on words. They are small, but they aren’t stupid. If you stand beside them shouting at your partner and every other word is your child’s name, it isn’t going to take a rocket scientist to see the correlation between shouting and that person.
One step beyond taking the blame, they will begin to dread anything and everything that involves decision-making for fear of clashing. They may not be so open with you in the future, rather taking on matters for themselves or lying to avoid you having to talk it out.
Parent vs. Parent
‘Mommy hates us going here or doing this, but she doesn’t need to know.’ ‘Daddy is so annoying when he just disappears like this; why is his phone always silenced!!’
Not only are you the parent annoyed, but you are also pushing it onto your child. And what are they thinking? They are confused, and they hear nothing but pitting words.
It isn’t nice to pit one parent against the other. Children shouldn’t have a preference; it shouldn’t even be an opportunity for them to think about.
They need to know that both Mom and Dad have their best interests at heart, without the drama of being pulled in two different directions.
Clash To Compromise – Working Together
So you have both established that this just isn’t working in current conditions. You love each other, you want a happy, loving family and you both want and need to be on the same page.
You both agree to put your weapons down and work towards a greater good for all involved.
Working together for peaceful home life is an auspicious path to serenity. You will be thankful, your partner will be thankful, and your kids will be even more so.
Plus, you never know; you might actually get things done!
Strip away all the arguments and disagreements. Take it all away, and what are you left with? You are left with two people with different opinions.
Now go further back.
Is it time to discuss where your opinions come from and why they are instilled in you? Often our own childhoods were surrounded by our parents’ parenting styles, and as you got older, you either accepted those styles and put them in your pocket for future use, or you promised yourself you would never be so uptight or unbothered.
The same goes for your partner.
Whatever the reasons are, what the both of you probably could do with a sprinkle of understanding. You are both there right now and at the same time, but not two journeys and experiences were the same.
Maybe there is a good reason why your partner would sooner play toy trains than wash the dishes. Or maybe your caution on letting your kid go on that school skiing trip comes from a real place of fear or a bad experience as a child yourself.
Beliefs run deep, but they don’t have to create bad vibes in the house.
Keep Discussions Away From Children
Behind closed doors, over dinner whilst the kids are tucked up in bed, at a reasonable volume. Any of those options are a great idea to prevent further upset caused by your inability to agree.
If you ever remember hearing or seeing your folks argue as a child, you might remember how terrible it made you feel. There was more than likely a little uncertainty thrown in there.
If arguments or discussions can be kept apart from your children, you are taking away their anxiety (yes, even kids’ blood pressure can rise), not to mention their assumption that they are responsible for your argument. That anxiety can lead to sleep issues, amongst other things.
Take the trauma away, especially if s a regular thing, and note to speak in a child-free environment in the future.
Talk Is Not Cheap
A great way to iron out the clash creases, talk. I don’t mean as you are about to enter into a discussion, I mean over dinner or a cup of tea when you are both feeling cool and collected. ‘I think the school trip is coming up. How do you feel about it?’ ‘Shall we look up some things to do next week when the kids are off?’
Think about what is coming up, know your triggers, and plan.
Rules for success are indeed in the planning. There are a million ways to avoid a huge majority of the problems we face when speeding towards Clashville, and no, it won’t always be easy to plan or chat about things as and when they crop up.
Isn’t it better to control the things you can, rather than none at all?
Back-Up Those Beliefs
If you really clash on something, and you are sticking to your guns, then back up your beliefs. Some beliefs become even stronger when challenged, so it’s important not to be deaf to your partner’s concerns or opinions.
If there is research to be done to make your point stronger, then do it.
If you present your point of view with a few points that you have found, it is still important to listen to your partner’s reply. Don’t turn up to the table armed with five folders worth reasons why your opinion is the better one. Approach cautiously.
Offer factual information and see if you can come to some compromise.
Conclusion – Peace, Joy, and Harmony
Everybody wants to live in peace. We cannot avoid some clashes in life, and we aren’t supposed to agree on everything. What matters when it comes to family life is finding the balance between standing up for what you believe in and respecting other people’s opinions.
Remember, your kids are watching!