Parenting is hard, let alone if you don’t agree with your partner’s parenting discipline: One’s a yeller and uses fear tactics and you’re into a more gentle approach. That can be mortifying and difficult to navigate or make your heart ache. In any household whose parents are wanting the same goal above all, love for their child, there’s space to learn, grow and change. I think a good start is with education and extra sparkly communication.
1. WHY SHOULD I CARE ABOUT HOW I PARENT?
Have you ever noticed in documentaries, from success stories to not so successful…yikes…Or in your cosmo magazine test results, It most often comes down to the parenting? There’s always a narrative about the Mother…the father…their presence, their encouragement, their behaviors through conflict etc….I have always found It fascinating and did a lot of digging into the psychology of parenting and how it affects us. How early childhood is basically what molds us; Your attachments, your capabilities, emotional intelligence, your success and so forth…
Before even becoming a mom myself, I knew I had a lot of healing to do from the parenting I received because of how I managed my relationships, my fears, my abandonment issues, tools I was missing to navigate painful triggers or situations. They did their best. All of this made me realize how important and impactful parenting is. My therapists made it very clear when retracing certain things that I would’ve never made the connection…but here I am, connecting the dots. No matter how uncomfortable it might be, it’s a good path to be on.
2. WHY SHOULD YOU HAVE AN IDEA OF HOW YOU WANT TO PARENT?
I am not going to tell you how to parent and what you should or shouldn’t do because that is not my place and I’m going to stay in my lane. Vice versa. We all do what works for US! But here’s my overall take, and like the motto of this blog, take what works for YOU, and leave the fluff behind:
To guide yourself in what feels right to YOU, I’d suggest educating yourself on the psychology and developmental impacts that it has on your child. it’s straightforward. There’s tons of books, podcasts, documentaries, studies for each parents that’s out there. Whatever parenting you decide that works for you, learn and know the impact it has on yourself and little children; Not only how if impacts tomorrow but in 20, 40 years from now. What guided us in baby steps, within our soul searching process, is understanding what didn’t work for us from the parenting that we received. It can be very small things and big things, Just pluck layers out, keep some in and add your own new approaches. Then, PRACTICE. Practice your parenting. We’re all students.
3. « BUT CHILDREN CAN DRIVE ME CRAZY! »
Parent for some of us is daunting, hard and triggering at times and we feel helpless. But why? Why did I feel like this too? – I believe that some of my « hair pulling » moments were not my child « inflicting » them on me but my own loaded bags of big feelings, fears, painful memories, mirrored like situations with my parents, and subconscious triggers that were being tested in those interactions. Let alone, being exhausted and at your wits ends sometimes too.
I quickly understood that learning about children’s brains and why they do what they do was so HELPFUL and that I had to Re-parent myself, I took it as an OPPORTUNITY. What a teaching moment! This is not Oliver doing this to me, he is learning, he is a child and how it makes me feel is up to me to redirect for the both of us, heal and give the best that I can to resolve this moment for a win-win child/parent interaction.
4. I KNOW HOW I WANT TO PARENT, BUT MY PARTNER IS GOING A WHOLE DIFFERENT ROUTE. NOW WHAT?
Once you’ve made the decision of how you’d ideally want to parent like in the long run, the big picture… You can be faced with your partner who doesn’t agree, or hasn’t even really thought about it…it can be explosive, confusing, lots of shaming and overall not great vibes for anyone.
- ONE aspect, is to BELIEVE that your partner is doing their best and not have any judgement towards them.
- SECOND aspect is to COMMUNICATE, casually and seriously! if it is really hard to break certain barriers, a third party is always a good idea! Kyle and I have done therapy but what we benefited from the most was Mediation (not mediTation) – it’s a mediator that takes both sides and guides you to powerful advice that feels balanced.
- THIRD aspect is EDUCATE, talk to your partner about what you are learning, share the wealth of knowledge! Share the why and what that you believe in. Don’t forget to ask their Whys, their beliefs too. it’s an exchange. It’s also a way to challenge them in your own exercising of understanding your personal impact.
- FOURTH aspect is STICK TO WHAT YOU TRUST, keep up with YOUR desires and parenting tactics that you know works for you and your child. It’s also completely common for two parents to parent differently and children thrive through understanding different authority! Molding these two together are great, that’s when you share your ideas and agree on your roles at home.
- FIFTH aspect is BOUNDARIES AND LIMITATIONS, what can also help finding a balance while agreeing with your partner doing things differently, is also setting clear NO-NOs. If spanking is off limits, or yelling or shaming- make that sparkly clear and circle back around backing it up of why you think that’s not something you’d like at home.
5. WHAT IS OUR PARENTING APPROACH AND HOW WE APPLIED IT?
Kyle and I are both gentle parenting/positive parenting– so rarely ever yelling, no fear tactics, no bribing, no hitting etc…really engaging in communicating, extensive explanations and most of all understanding the psychology behind small children. We had to share with each other many articles, books, studies to get to this understanding/applying and reprogramming our own brains. We also have one of us that’s of course « an enforcer » but within the same approach.
It’s not always easy. We have both made a huge effort to get through all the steps I just mentioned; To realize these things are part of our own healing was the key. We didn’t just get to this stage without disagreement, without telling one another « you’re wrong! » without shaming one another that we’re too soft, or “messing up our child” wondering sometimes what the hell are we doing?-
It challenged us to change our communication, respecting each other, and the knowledge we gained was not just for our relationship with our child and his with us, but other relationships in our lives, especially the one with ourselves. it felt good, it made us happy as a whole. More importantly, when you start seeing patterns that works with your child as you practice and adapt to different stages, it is incredibly rewarding.
Check out my post about gentle parenting, IF it’s something you’re into! –Click Here-