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When You and Your Partner Disagree on Parenting

Partners often disagree on parenting.    As parents, we put together our ideas of how to raise children on how we were raised, religion, how we interpret our values, and other factors. When you and your partner both want what is best for your child but disagree on how to help your child be successful, it can be very frustrating.

Here are some ways to work together when you seem to be on opposite sides and disagree on parenting:

Positive communication can make a difference when you disagree on parenting

Use reflective listening

Try to spend time just hearing what your partner has to say about the issue. Try to paraphrase back what your partner is saying to you.  This will show your partner that you are listening and help you really understand the issue.

Use “I” statements.

Use statements such as, “I feel frustrated when……”  An I statement is less likely to put your partner on the defense than a statement such as, “You never….” or “You are….”

Try to parent together as a team, even when you disagree on parenting

  • Recognize that you and your partner both love your child immensely. You are both committed to what is best for your child.
  • Parenting is tough. Have each other’s backs.  It is the better for your child, you, and your partner.
  • Try not to argue or make your partner look bad in front of your children.
  • Have regular talks about your different parenting views.
  • Praise your partner for positives he or she contributes to your child and the family.Praise for bringing dinner home or getting up during the night with a sick child.  Praise is contagious and can spread through your family.  The more you are building each other up, the easier it is to work out problems.  Your child will also pick up on this and may start showing a more positive attitude.
  • When you think about how you were raised, ask yourself if you thought the strategies used by your parents helped you. If you are using the strategies from your childhood that made you feel small or belittled growing up, or strategies that were ineffective, why stick to these methods? Research has produced more learning new parenting techniques will help you and your child.

A PCIT therapist can help you and your partner parent together effectively

If you are struggling to agree on discipline, you may want to speak to a couples therapist or a child therapist.

Consider Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT)

PCIT is a very scripted model of parenting that can help parents get on the same page with effective behavior management strategies.  PCIT is a therapeutic model based on the principal of providing children with high warmth and love but also high expectations. Parents are taught how to provide children with a high amount of warmth during therapeutic play and also how to teach children how to behave appropriately.  PCIT significantly reduces or stops many of the acting out behaviors including as tantrums, aggression, and verbal defiance.  It does this by increasing positive interactions between parent and child, as well as effective

Jennifer Luria

Author: Jennifer Luria

Jennifer Luria is a highly skilled child and adolescent psychotherapist. Ms. Luria holds a Masters in Social Work from the University of Iowa. She was employed by the Center for Disabilities and Development at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics for 8 years, and recently has joined the staff at Hope Springs. Ms. Luria has a very warm and compassionate style, which she balances with the ability to effectively set goals and bring about results with her patients. She is also certified in Parent Child Interaction Therapy, as well as Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (Certified Therapist). She is currently accepting new patients.

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