Parenting  Disagreements Between Spouses


There are many reasons why parents disagree about parenting methods.  Sometimes it is easier to know what someone else should be doing differently than it is to take a look at improving ourselves.  If you work on your parenting methods with the intention of making them effective, your spouse or partner will want to know your secrets!


1.     What do you do if one of you is overly permissive or controlling and the other tries to compensate by going in the opposite direction?

·         First, detach from what the other person is doing or not doing

·         Decide what you can do to be more effective

·         Decide not to be placed in the middle

·         Teach your child how to deal with the difficult situation herself by asking, “What is one thing you could do differently so dad doesn’t yell at you?”


2.     What do you do if you and your partner seem to be in competition over who is the better parent?

·         Immediately stop comparing yourself to your partner

·         Delight in your differences

·         Decide to make your partner successful and focus your energies in that direction


3.     What do you do if one parent feels it is important that he or she be right?

·         Decide to make your child’s best interest more important than being “right”

·         Choose one way to make your partner feel valuable or needed in your relationship which will help you give up your need to be “right.” (For example, ask your partner his opinion or advice on decisions you have to make at work)

·         Practice saying, “you’re right!” to your partner and enjoying it


4.     What do you do if you are feeling controlled or dominated by your partner and your child begins to side with you and act out against your partner?

·         Stop holding grudges against the more dominant partner (for example, forgive hurts you are holding onto)

·         Be clear on what you want and don’t want and be firm and loving about your preferences

·         Recognize that if you are not asking for what you want, you are probably manipulating your partner in indirect ways that might be causing frustration

·         Recognize that to be controlling or dominating, you need a willing volunteer for the job!

·         Make it clear to your child that he does not need to protect you and that you can take care of yourself


Excerpted with permission from the "Redirecting Children's Behavior" Workbook Copyright © 1994 INCAF

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