Parenting can be a source of conflict for lots of couples. Many couples disagree on discipline practices with their children. When one parent is stricter and the other parents wants to be more laid back, this can be frustrating not only for the couple, but also the children.
Maybe you agree on the big issues like spanking versus time out and perhaps you have already discussed this. However, smaller issues can still be a big source of problems. For example, when do you believe in allowing children to start facing natural consequences?
An example of a natural consequence for a child might be a child who wants to wear shorts, despite the cold weather. One parent might think, “choose your battles” and the reaction would be to allow the child to wear shorts with the assumption, “they will get cold and learn their lesson.” The other parent might assume this is a teaching moment and tell the child they cannot leave the home until they dress appropriately. At what age would you allow the child to face the natural consequence of being cold if they leave the house not appropriately dressed for the weather? One parent might say 8 or 10 while the other parent might say “not as long as they live under my roof.”
Kids quickly learn their parents’ parenting styles and if you are not careful, they can use this to their advantage. This can cause conflict and disagreement among the whole family where one parent ends up “looking like the bad guy.” Parents need to present a united front and act as a team so that each person feels supported and that neither parent becomes the “boss.”
If parenting issues are causing a lot of conflict and disruption, it may be appropriate to seek therapy. This may be some individual therapy, couples therapy, or family therapy depending on the issues. If there is a lot of conflict contributing to increased stress in the home, make sure to seek help before things become even worse. This is important not only for your marriage, but for the children as well.