Parenting can be a journey fraught with angst and challenges. In a perfect world, both parents are able to work together to support each other and show a united front to their children.
However, it isn’t a perfect world and often parents find themselves clashing with each other over parenting issues as much as they clash with their children.
This isn’t surprising when you think about how we were all raised differently and got our own blueprint for parenting from our parents.
While we may share the same hopes and dreams for our children, it doesn’t necessarily mean we will agree on disciplinary approaches, boundary setting or other expectations. Often as individuals we can be so invested in what we think is best for the child, we aren’t open to the other parent’s views.
Psychologist and parenting expert Dr Justin Coulson says open communication is the key to a successful parenting partnership.
“Parenting on the same the same page means we need to step back from the whole parenting thing every now and then and have a conversation as a couple.”
Dr Coulson recommends the following common sense approaches to ensure you are parenting on the same page:
Have a shared vision.
Decide what you both want for your family. This may be agreeing on what a happy family looks like and aspiring to get there.
Hold family meetings.
Dr Coulson recommends weekly family meetings that are short and sweet but address some key questions:
- What’s working well for our family this week?
- What hasn’t worked well in our family this week?
- What are we going to work on in this coming week?
Learn to let go.
Sometimes we need to let go of things that have happened in order to move forward. If the other parent has done something you haven’t agreed with, talk about it openly then move on. This also means picking your battles. If something happens that isn’t a big deal, it may be best to overlook it rather than make it a point of conflict.
Look for the good.
Overlooking the good is a common problem between parents who clash, reflects Dr Coulson. As parents we do a lot of things for our kids and want the best for them. It is beneficial to reflect on the positive things your partner does in relation to the kids and parenting, rather than just focusing on the negative.
Seek help together.
If things are really challenging and you struggle to get on the same parenting page, don’t be afraid to seek professional help to get there. This might be through a private counsellor or a service such as Relationships Australia.
Parenting is a tough gig and sometimes it can be made harder by not parenting on the same page. Working together to raise happy, healthy humans should be every parenting partnership’s goal.
To hear more parenting advice from Dr Coulson check out ParentTV