Parenting Disagreements


It’s normal to have parenting disagreements, but life is much easier when couples find a way to parent as a team. Let’s look at why we argue about parenting, and how you might be able to approach those conversations more constructively.


“When you have a baby, you set off an explosion in your marriage.” – Nora Ephron


When we had our first baby, I remember saying it hadn’t quite been like a bomb had gone off… but at least a grenade.

Becoming a parent is challenging on so many levels.

Your relationships with pretty much everyone in your life change, which impacts your whole sense of identity.

Less money has to go further. And we have to work out how to divide it fairly, now one or both of us is working less to take care of the baby – our joint responsibility.

There is so much more to do (the laundry alone!), and less time to do it.

Work takes on a new meaning. Does it become about building a future for your family? Is it something you miss terribly? Do you dread going back?

And the whole experience brings depths of emotions in both of us we might never have experienced before.

Oh, and we do all of this while sleep deprived!

So it’s no wonder that new parents usually experience an increase in general conflict along with their first parenting disagreements.

Often it starts during pregnancy. We struggle with questions like “Where’s the baby going to sleep?” and “When are the in-laws going to visit?”

We’re trying to work out how we’ll cope with the change.

Arguments can be horrible. But there’s an opportunity here: to learn the skills to deal with them. To learn how to approach your parenting disagreements (and others ones) as opportunities to deepen your connection.

Because that’s the good news: couples who manage to work through all of this do feel closer than ever – once they’ve come through the other side and settled into their new roles as parents.

But that won’t happen if you get stuck in a pattern of arguing where no one’s hearing each other.


Preparing For Parenting Together


So how did we get here?

Isn’t it interesting how becoming a parent is such a big deal… and yet most of us are pretty unprepared for it?!

We focus a lot on preparing for birth, and a bit on life with a baby – mostly just sorting out the equipment.

And then one day we find ourselves with our baby (or babies) and we have to work out how to be parents.

If we’re lucky, there are two of us, and we’re in it together.

Each of us is trying to work out what kind of Mum or Dad to be.

Trying to work out how best to meet our children’s needs, while meeting our own, and hopefully having some energy left for our relationships too.

This is hard stuff!

Lots of couples have very different ideas about what good parenting looks like.

And often they don’t see this coming at all.

Why don’t we talk about it more?

Sometimes we don’t realise that we’re making assumptions about how things are going to be. So it doesn’t cross our minds that we need to talk about them. We only find out when we discover that our partners have been making assumptions too – and they’re very different from ours.

A lot of the challenges of parenting catch us completely by surprise.

I for one had no idea how hard it could be sometimes!

What about you?

How much did you talk about what kind of parents you wanted to be?

Did the conversations you did have prepare you much for the reality when it happened?


How To Parent Together As A Team


Here are my top tips for parenting together:

  1. Talk about your approaches and work to coordinate them
  2. Remember we all make mistakes, and avoid criticism
  3. Don’t discuss parenting disagreements in front of kids
  4. Listen to your partner and ask how you can support them when they’re struggling with parenting
  5. Compliment each other (We all need to hear we’re a good parent!)


Disagreeing About Parenting


Parenting disagreements are totally normal.

They can also be really painful, because our ideas about parenting say a lot about our values, as well as our hopes and dreams for our kids.

If you get frustrated with one another when it comes to parenting, remind yourselves that you’re on the same team.

You might have different ideas about how to get there, but you both have the same ultimate goal: a happy family life and thriving children.

Kids are bright and adaptable and they can handle some variety in your approaches. They’ll learn about handling differences from the variation in your minor rules.

But when it comes to the major rules, communication is key to coming to some agreement. If you struggle with this, please don’t hesitate to get in touch about how I can help.

Remember that none of us is a perfect parent. So do avoid criticising your partner when they make mistakes.

It’s ok to give feedback and share your ideas. But offer your suggestions kindly and sparingly, balanced out with plenty of admiration and appreciation.

(Of course, if you are concerned for the welfare of your child, intervention is vital.)


Support With Parenting Disagreements


If you feel like an explosion went off in your marriage when you had kids, please don’t struggle on alone. Parenting together can be tough.

This is an excellent opportunity for you to learn a set of tools that will change not just your lives, but your children’s too.

Through relationship coaching and/or therapy, we can work together to get your relationship back on track.

When you join Love Happy Live Free you’ll get access to a number of bonuses including my Parenting As A Team Masterclass. Click here to get in touch and find out more.

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