Real Talk

Parenting Problems: How to Deal with Your Spouse Over Conflicting Strategies

Most parenting problems aren’t usually the kid’s fault. It’s when the parents have conflicting parenting strategies!

Because we all grew up in different environments, it’s no surprise that we have different ideas of what parenting should be. Some of us will think that spanking is okay; others won’t.

But it’s normal — our perception of what “entitled” or “spoiled” are will differ because our parents may have come from different times. So when we do get married and have our own kid/s, we’ll have some expectations of what parenting strategies work and what doesn’t.

However, what works for us may not work for our spouse. Some of our strategies may even trigger them!

Parenting Problems: How to Deal with Your Spouse Over Conflicting Strategies

1. Learn more about our spouse’s childhood.

Knowing how our spouse grew up will already give us an idea of how they may parent. If their parents were often emotionally volatile and made no efforts to reconnect then, they may do the same.

There may be rare moments when they consciously and consistently choose to be the ones to reconnect, but modeling — as a form of behavior conditioning — may persist. This is why many parents, until this day, find it difficult to apologize.

While learning about our spouse’s childhood, always do so with a compassionate ear and heart. Although we might find ourselves laughing at how silly the situation sounded or being petty after arguing with them, avoid or restrain the urge because they’re being vulnerable in front of us. The strength of your marriage relies on how safe each spouse feels in expressing their vulnerability.

2. When correcting each other, don’t do so via yelling.

We may have learned that volume gets us what we want over the years, but that doesn’t apply in a marriage. As two equal individuals in the same parenting situation, the last thing our kids need to see is their parents screaming at each other. It also sends them the message that they are the reason their parents are yelling, which would make them feel less safe.

Besides, we don’t like getting yelled at either. Not only do we condemn it as a sign of immaturity, but the only ones we subconsciously give that privilege to are our parents. So if we’re going to correct them, keep it down. The whole world doesn’t need to know that we or our spouses don’t agree on a parenting strategy.

3. Remember that we’re not always right.

Unfortunately, being a parent sometimes makes us embrace the idea that only we know best. To the point, we sometimes believe that our spouse knows nothing. Although some parenting experiences are exclusive to moms and dads, it doesn’t make one or the other more superior. If anything, it makes us complimentary to each other — they may know something we don’t.

It may be painful to realize we don’t know certain things but acknowledging that we’re wrong doesn’t make us any less of a parent. Doing so may even make the parenting journey a lot less lonely.

4. Validate each other’s struggles.

What comes easy to us may not for our spouses. Some of us seek the thrill of a thriving career while others prefer managing the home. But circumstances don’t always play in our favor — some of us are forced into environments we’re not wholly prepared for. When that happens, we don’t want someone to beat us down with a bat or reason out with us. We’re looking for someone to comfort us in our struggles.

That doesn’t mean to say we won’t accept the advice (if it applies). But always comfort first, advice later — messages will be a lot easier to understand when everyone’s soothed and calmed down.

5. Avoid using our spouse as an insult.

“You’re just like your mom/dad!” (“Katulad ka talaga ng nanay/tatay mo!”) This is a statement we often use when we’re on a roll with our rage. But that does more harm than good; it teaches our kids not to respect our spouses because they behave in a way we don’t like. And it gives our spouses a harder time when it comes to disciplining or parenting the kids.

Besides, doing so also belittles our spouse’s efforts, which we’re sure we wouldn’t want if they did the same to us.

Parenting Problems: How to Deal with Your Spouse Over Conflicting Strategies

The parenting journey is a team effort!

All of us agree that most of our parenting headaches are usually because we don’t align with our partners. Our differing beliefs and experiences make it difficult to agree with a single parenting approach, leaving us frustrated with one another.

However, it’s important to keep in mind two things: one, there is no one perfect parenting approach because situations are constantly changing and two, our kids are the ones who will either suffer or benefit from our decisions.

By agreeing on certain parenting strategies, we not only become more consistent as parents but also lessen the fights at home and make it more peaceful.

More about parenting?

Coregulation: A Successful Parenting Strategy That Helps Tame Toddler Tantrums

How Parenting and Love Makes Us Learn, Unlearn, and Relearn

Little Things That Can Overwhelm Kids and Why

Shop for Modern Parenting's print issues through these platforms.
Download this month's Modern Parenting magazine digital copy from:
Subscribe via [email protected]