My partner and I cannot get on the same page about parenting. I think my partner is just too hard on our kids. I’m not about throwing away all of the rules, but sometimes I think it’s ok to figure out how they’re feeling or not make a big deal of things rather than come down hard. How can we get on the same page?
Thank you so much for asking such an honest and difficult question, and a question that is asked about twice a week in my office. I work with a lot of kids and families; in fact, more than half of my practice is made up of parents and their children. And even though the kids and teens come in with a wide range of struggles, the number one consistent complaint I hear from parents is that they find it nearly impossible to be on the same “parenting page.”
It becomes a nasty cycle: child/teen is having a particular problem and hasn’t learned how to manage in healthy and appropriate ways, so parents have to step in. Parents don’t agree on what/how to step in, so they start arguing more. That conflict exacerbates child/teen’s struggles so that behavior gets worse, which of course means parents have to step in again and have yet another opportunity to fight against one another.
Being on the same page just isn’t optional when it comes to healing families; it is vital.
When I start walking alongside a family, I know that the child/teen’s struggles must be addressed and supported. However, I also believe that my work with the child/teen will only go so far if the parents are still struggling to be a united team in regards to raising their children. So I want to do everything I can to help parents figure out how they can be connected and aligned, for the sake of their child and the life of their family. This just isn’t optional when it comes to healing families; it is vital.
Over the next few weeks, we’re going to look at various aspects that cause parents to get stuck when trying to figure out how to parent or discipline or make decisions related to their children. To start, I encourage you to consider a few questions about your desire to get on the same “parenting page” with your partner:
- When do I get the most frustrated with how my partner chooses to parent our child?
- What concerns me the most about the parenting decisions my partner makes?
- How did I learn to be a parent? How was I parented?
- What do I believe my role is as a parent? What must I do to help my child grow into a healthy, thriving adult?
- What do I wish my partner understood about the way I choose to parent our child?
Looking forward to what is to come in the next few weeks!