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How Can We Parent As a Team?

My partner and I were raised differently, so we disagree on parenting a lot. How do we get on the same page?


My partner and I were raised differently, so we disagree on parenting a lot. How do we get on the same page?

The Bump Expert

Every couple is going to clash on a few of the millions of decisions they need to make together. “There’s no one right way to do almost anything as a parent,” says Shoshana Bennett, a clinical psychologist. “It’s really important to respect each other’s ideas. That doesn’t mean you have to agree, but you should avoid being critical.”

Ask, “Is this a big deal?”

If you disagree on something little, like how to dress baby or whether to bathe him in the sink or the tub, it’s not worth a fight. “If it’s a huge safety or health issue, then it’s important to discuss it,” Bennett says, “but arguments between parents typically aren’t about whether to put a seatbelt on your kids. They’re more about parenting style.”

Stay calm and listen

Don’t flip out as soon as you hear your partner’s take. React as calmly as you can. If it’s 2 a.m. and baby’s screaming, table the discussion for daylight hours when you feel sane enough to have a civil conversation. Then, ask why. You might find your partner has a good reason for his stance.

Give your partner equal footing

Accept that your partner has a different style than you do, like he lets baby play independently (while supervised) and you like to play along with baby. Bennett says it’s actually good for babies to be exposed to different people who speak in different intonations, point out different things to baby and involve baby in different activities -- all this helps baby developmentally.

Start fresh

Most of us swear we’re going to raise our kids differently when we become parents. Then we become parents... our parents. Why not focus on the fact that you’re a new family, and develop new ways to interact together and start new traditions together?

Expert: Shoshana Bennett, PhD, is a clinical psychologist specializing in family issues

Plus, more from The Bump:

Get the Help You Want When Baby Comes Home

Why You Hate Your Husband (After Baby Arrives)

Bonding Ideas Dad Will Love

Elena Donovan Mauer

Q&A: Parenting as a team?

I wish my husband and I could find some common ground, we've both expressed we would like to be on the same team but it seems no matter what compromise I make (after being a single mom for almost 4 years.) he can't compromise himself on some things. Writing down a list won't work for anything he's awful about actually following through with stuff like that.

sarisa82 |

Q&A: Parenting as a team?

Remember you carried that child not him so when he goes against what you think is right you get to overrule his vote because he didnt go throught what you did for your child to be here today.

aconnor2010 |

Q&A: Parenting as a team?

I have to say that I do not agree with aconnor2010. Just because biologically I was the one who had to carry and give birth to our child, she is still OUR child, that he helped to make and has every right to help raise in the way he would like. Parenting is just like any relationship, a compromise. And so far, my DH and I haven't had any problems because we both want what is best for HER, not what kind of ideals we had in mind to begin with.

Pool_Chick |

Q&A: Parenting as a team?

As a therapist, I can specially tell you that following aconner2010's advice will be much more likely to end in pain and suffering. DO NOT give ultimatums and force your partner to listen to you. That would in no way ENHANCE communication or effort - both things you mentioned in your wishes. Instead, go to counseling (covered by insurances) or just get over it. To be honest, at this point if you don't both talk to a completely impartial mediator your marriage will suffer - hence, your relationships with your child will as well.

jenb2bp |

Q&A: Parenting as a team?

My DH and I don't do everything the same but it doesn't make either of us right or wrong. What I am having problems with is my DH doesn't seem to understand that I don't want to be busy doing stuff all the time like before I had our son, DH is pushing me to play music at church again and talking about leaving the baby with a sitter so we can go do stuff like before. It is like he doesn't understand that I just want spend a while bonding with our 4 week old son and leaving him with a sitter would be hard because I don't have a pump. I have explained everything to him before and now when he suggest stuff I just say no and he gets grumpy. I don't know what else to do though!

KarolynnS1153 |

Q&A: Parenting as a team?

I just have to be thankful to have a husband who helps with everythingfrom changing diapers, to rubbing my feet at night, we're on this together, the three of us are bonding everyday & our relationship has gotten stronger. He enjoys coming home from work & the first thing he wants to do is to take the baby and be in charge of his duties as a new dad. I feel very bless to have him by mi side, I just hope it continues to be this way.

retnalu |

Q&A: Parenting as a team?

Let's face it, guys are weird and will never do things the exact way we want them to. But before flipping out ask yourself two very important things, first is it dangerous on a real level (not the one in 6 billion chance that going outside will cause a freak meteor to hit baby) if it is dangerous show him another way, if not just be happy he's helping. The second thing to ask is if it undermines you to the child, admittedly the kid needs to be older for this one but if you are supportive of each other and show a united front to the child everyone is happier.

CindyBrimmer |

Q&A: Parenting as a team?

I find it intriguing that every mom on here assumes that she's got it all right and the man is just "doing the best they can with their limited abilities. Time to open our eyes, Ladies, sometimes the husbands actually have something that may work better than what we're doing... don't bring them down because they want you to do the things that you enjoyed before or do exactly what you want them to do. I would get completely unglued if the tables were turned!

FKisses |