5 Most Common Parenting Disagreements Couples Have and How to Tackle Them
Parenting, as you all will know, is a fun challenge. You need to be superhuman to handle all the varying challenges your little ball of energy throws at you. What makes this challenge your favourite daily adventure? That’s right, a teammate who stands by you through thick and thin, through the dry and soggy diapers, through the happy giggles and the all-nighters filled with tears; through the very best and the absolute worst. But even the strongest team players can have arguments, especially when it concerns someone they love unconditionally. As parents, you and your spouse may have had (or still probably do!) certain disagreements when it comes to your contrasting parenting styles.
What a Celeb Couple Has to Say
When it comes to being a parent, celebrities are no different, of course! In an interview, Shahid Kapoor had shared that as a parent, he tended to be slightly obsessive and overprotective about Misha and Zain, while his wife, Mira Rajput, was more laid-back among the two.
“Having said that, we try and find the middle ground which I think is good for the kids because you need to have both types of parents. If both are too obsessive or both are too careless I don’t think that works, so you need to find that balance,” he added.
Shahid and Mira are not the only ones to have gone through this dilemma; most of you would have found this situation quite relatable. It’s rare to find a couple following the exact same parenting style, where both are relaxed and casual, or both are too strict and controlling. And because of this difference, it’s possible that disagreements may surface quite repeatedly when it comes to certain matters or values.
5 Common Parenting Disagreements Couples Face
If you’ve argued with your partner over any of these matters, know that these are common arguments most couples face!
1. How to Parent the Child
All other arguments tend to crop up due to this main disagreement – which is, ‘whose way of parenting is better’. One parent may believe that being strict is the key to enforcing discipline, while another may prefer being more laid-back and not obsess over every detail of the child’s life. Two very different styles can be slightly confusing for the child to follow, as they probably regard one parent as ‘the sweet one who’ll grant all their wishes’ and the other as ‘the Grinch who won’t let them have fun’!
2. How to Punish the Child When He Gets Into Trouble
An extension of the previous point, the stricter parent among the two may be okay with occasionally spanking the child to make consequences clear, while the other may completely disagree with this. However, an extremely strict approach (by both or either parent) can end up stifling the child, causing him to grow up fearing taking risks or terrified of disappointing his parents. A middle-ground approach that will work for both, the parents and the child, would be to explain to the child the consequences of his actions, hear him out when he makes mistakes, and give him the chance to apologise. Take away some privileges for a short time to drive the point home, but never resort to violence to discipline your child.
3. How Much Money to Spend on the Child
This has more to do with the way both the parents were raised and their current financial situation. Everyone wants to provide their children with the best that they could ask for – but too much of a good thing can be trouble too. Sure, giving the child everything he asks for may earn his love for the parent, but over time, he’s not going to see the value in the little or the big things. And NOT giving the child anything he asks for isn’t going to spoil him, but the little one isn’t going to be happy at all. If anything, it will discourage him from asking his parents for anything at all! For this matter, get into the habit of budgeting, so that the little one’s little wishes can be granted from time to time (and he doesn’t end up getting spoiled), and your finances don’t take a major hit.
4. What to Feed the Child
Surprisingly, this too can be a cause of conflict in a lot of households. As much as everyone is aware of the benefits of healthy food, and especially when it comes to their kids, not everyone follows these rules to the T. One parent may not worry much about how often their child eats junk food, while the other may worry that they aren’t incorporating enough vegetables into their child’s diet! Again, a ‘best of both worlds’ approach is what could make both, the parents and the child happy!
5. What Values to Impart to the Child
This, again, is another by-product of the values the parents were raised with. If one parent grew up in a conservative household, while the other was raised in a more liberal setting, obviously their ideals and morals would be completely different. This could affect the things they teach their child, sometimes sending mixed signals that the child gets confused by!
5 Tips to Achieve Harmony in Parenting
Here are a few tips for you to parent as a team:
1. Find That Middle Ground
This is not going to happen overnight but it will have long-term benefits for sure. Appreciate that your partner acts the way they do because they love your child just as much as you do. There’s no doubt about that! So work out what aspects of parenting you agree upon and come up with feasible compromises for the aspects you disagree with. Almost always, there will be common ground both of you will be okay with.
2. Identify the Non-negotiable Rules
On the matters that you and your partner do agree upon, it’s important for your kids to see the unified front you’re putting up too. Work out the rules that your child needs to follow, no matter what – this way, the child can’t go to either parent to get a leeway!
3. Figure Out Why You Disagree on Certain Aspects
As mentioned, underlying reasons, like the parents’ background or childhood, plays a part in their parenting styles as well. There may be certain things that each partner may be willing to compromise on but they may not budge when it comes to certain other matters. And that’s okay; you’re not the same person and you don’t need to be either! It actually may even benefit your child (when it comes to minor issues) because he gets to learn about different sides of a situation because of your disagreement. But when it interferes with the lessons you’re imparting to your child, you need to figure out a way to put up a united front.
4. Don’t Play the ‘Good Cop, Bad Cop’ Game
This means, don’t tell your kids ‘wait till papa gets home’ or ‘see what happens when I tell mummy what you did!’ You’re essentially then portraying one parent as the one who metes out punishment and the other as someone who won’t take much action if the child does something wrong. Instead, step up and make sure that whether it comes to punishment or advice, both of you play your equal parts!
5. Do Not Argue in Front of the Child
Whatever you disagree upon, the number one rule to follow is that you never pull each other down in front of the kid! If you feel that things are starting to heat up and a fight is due, signal your partner (you can have this worked out beforehand) to put the discussion on hold. Work it out among yourselves personally; every issue doesn’t need an instant solution, so you can take your time to work it out!
Parenting styles need not be a hundred per cent similar, but that doesn’t mean they should fall at opposite ends of the spectrum. To continue as the strong parenting team that you are, understand that you’re on the same team first and that you’re working towards the same goal – the well-being and happiness of your child. The rest will follow suit!