Should our 5 year old daughter get her ears pierced? Should we let our 10 year old wear makeup? Should our 14 year old go on an overnight trip with a group of friends? Is our 13 year old ready to date? All of these questions have one thing common-tough decision making. You may worry that if you do the wrong thing you could set your child up for future issues–and you’re right. Being a parent is the hardest job you’ll probably ever have. You have the responsibility to shape your young ones into a mature and responsible young adult. The rules and boundaries you set now will have a lasting impact on future choices they make.
What happens if you and your spouse disagree on how to handle these types of issues? It is essential to acknolwedlge that some parenting disagreements are bound to happen. You and your partner were raised in different homes and had different parents. Therefore, you had different childhoods, and were likely taught different things. It is only natural that your parental instincts would be different. However, as long as your basic parenting philosphies are similar, you can work through rest.
When at all possible, do not argue about the issue in front of your child. If he sees the disagreement between the two of you, that is a prime opportunity for him to manipulate the situation (“but dad said I could go…”).
Make sure you discuss the issue calmly with your spouse away from your child. Have an open dialogue about the pros and cons of each side. Explain your point of view, and allow your partner to explain theirs. You may even want to make a written list and base your decision off that.
Finally, it is important to come to a compromise. Make a decision that feels good to both of you, and approach your child together. It is not helpful or even neccessary to play “good cop, bad cop” when it comes to parenting.
If you find that your disagreements undercover a bigger problem such as philisophical parenting differences, consult a professional who can help.