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Q&A: Parenting as a team?

How can my husband and I become more of a parenting team? Our parents raised us differently, so it’s hard to agree on how to do things with our own child.

Re: How can my husband and I become more of a parenting team? Our parents raised us differently, so it’s hard to agree on how to do things with our own child.

The Bump Expert

Aside from money, parenting style is probably one of the biggest stressors in a marriage. Couples are often surprised that they are arguing about so many “little things” once they have a child, and it can get pretty heated. We often take offense when our partner wants to parent differently than we do, as though they are saying that our way is wrong. You both need to check your egos at the door and realize that doing something differently doesn’t mean that your way is wrong; it just isn’t comfortable for your partner. A certain style may also conflict with the personality of your child. I remember telling everyone that when I had kids, I was going to be the most laid-back person ever. I wasn’t going to let my daughter dictate our schedule… then came Kayla. Kayla wouldn’t sleep anywhere but her crib and would make us all miserable if she wasn’t in her crib for her three naps and asleep by 7. There went my flexible parenting style!

The first thing you and your partner can do is decide that you do indeed want to parent as a team. That may seem obvious, but just that one agreement alone can relieve a lot of stress. Once you have come to understand that you are playing for the same team, you then need to make the rules. I recommend that couple actually write the rules down. Make up categories such as sleep, food, discipline, atmosphere in the home, baths, bottle washing, etc. Then negotiate, and try to meet in the middle. If all else fails, I recommend you call a parenting coach or therapist who can help you overcome these hurdles.

Lisa Peri