Differing Parenting Philosophies 

When a couple disagrees on parenting issues, it can create a variety of problems. Perhaps your spouse wants to make sure the kids are happy all the time. And your goal is to make sure they are responsible, not happy. This can wreak havoc on a marriage.  Ideally, it would have been great to have ironed all this out prior to having kids. However, many people think they will parent in one fashion, but then when the time comes everything they thought they knew went out the window. They then parent much differently than they would have predicted.

It is normal to disagree about parenting issues, and the important thing is to talk about it. Discuss your feelings and concerns with your partner and try to work out a solution that allows you both to feel comfortable. However, some parenting problems are much bigger. Perhaps your spouse feels bad about giving consequences to the kids. And then you are left with dealing with misbehaviors. Or maybe you don’t believe in giving kids chores and your spouse spends half their time picking up after the children. These sorts of issues can cause resentment and frustration, and ultimately, damage to the marriage.

Try to focus on the big picture when it comes to your children. Discuss your hopes and dreams for them and also discuss your definition of success. When they graduate high school, do you want your child to be able to say “I had a lot of fun in my childhood,” or do you want them to be well prepared for college? Some people want a self-sufficient child who has been able to work part time during high school and who can save their money and move out. Other parents want a child who has been able to spend a lot of time with friends and playing sports without the stress of work.

Whatever your values and goals are, discuss them with your partner. How much do you value family, friendship, spirituality, leisure time, education, and work? How do you want to pass these values down to your children? Discuss what you hope your child gains from growing up in your house.  Focusing on the big picture can help people decide how to best handle the smaller day-to-day disciplinary issues.

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