Evergreen Relationship Therapy > Parenting > Opposites Attract: 7 Ways to Cope With Different Parenting Styles

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About 50% of marriages in the United States end in divorce. The decision to file a divorce can come from a variety of reasons. Sometimes people grow apart and are both ready for the next chapter in their separate lives. 

Other times, the divorce is due to unresolved issues or disagreements with no solutions. A couple with two different parenting styles isn’t uncommon. Disagreements on how to raise children happen in many marriages. 

Don’t let your different styles of parenting cause you to end your marriage. It’s a challenge to raise children with someone who doesn’t always see eye to eye with you, but having two different types of parenting styles is a blessing in disguise. Both parents can put their parenting strengths together to raise their children the best they can. 

Continue reading below for ways to cope with different styles of parenting. 

1. Reflect on One Another’s Past

Both parents were once raised in their own households under different rules and ways of doing things. No two people from different households are raised the exact same way. When parents struggle to agree on how to raise their children, it could be due to how they were both raised. 

Take a few minutes to reflect on one another’s past and how your parents raised you. Give one another a chance to explain things they liked and didn’t like about how their parents raised them. Start a list or a journal of parenting strategies each parent wants and doesn’t want to use with the children.

One parent may want to raise a child the same way they were raised because that’s all they know. However, this doesn’t make it the right way. It’s best to share strong points and weaknesses with how each parent was raised and create your own system. 

2. Work on Finding a Common Ground

Once you’re able to reflect on one another’s past, you can then begin to work on finding some balance. What are some things the two of you agree on? What are the things you disagree on?

You’ll both need to make compromises. The two of you must be willing to do this in order to find common ground. If you’re having trouble with this, then start researching both parenting techniques and learn which might be best for your child. 

Keep in mind you can learn about new parenting skills and how to handle situations in a way neither of you is familiar with. As a parent, it’s important to keep an open mind and be willing to learn as you go. 

3. Understand the Three Parenting Styles

Before you can decide what’s best for your children, it’s beneficial to understand each type of parenting style and determine where each parent falls into these categories. What are the different types of parenting styles? 

  1. Authoritarian
  2. Permissive
  3. Authoritative 

Authoritarian parenting is strict parenting. This parenting style has strict rules in place which must be followed. An authoritarian parent demands respect and full cooperation to teach children their lessons.

Permissive parenting is the opposite of authoritarian parenting. This type of parenting has little structure. There are no set rules for children to follow or the rules aren’t enforced.

Authoritative parenting is a healthy balance between the two. This parenting style sets reasonable expectations and rules for the children while providing support to them. It creates a healthy environment for the children and parents while creating a bond between the two. 

Be sure to read more about authoritative parenting and how to use it in your own household. 

4. Support One Another in Front of Children

There will be disagreements from time to time, no matter how well the two of you work with one another. When there is a conflict in parenting styles, be sure to support one another in front of the children. Wait until the two of you can speak in private to then discuss what you don’t agree with.

This shows your children that the two of you are a strong and united unit. This prevents children from being able to choose between parents or come in between them. 

5. Remain Flexible at All Times

Do keep in mind that there’s no handbook on how to raise children properly. There’s great advice out there and helpful tips and tricks, but when it comes down to it, it’s a learn as you go experience. What’s most important is that both of you remain flexible and willing to learn at all times. 

Every parent makes mistakes and every parent has room to grow. Realize your mistakes, own up to them, make healthy changes, and support one another so the two of you can grow as a parental unit. 

6. Don’t Allow One Parent to Be the Bad Cop

Prevent one person from being the bad guy. If one parent is constantly put in a position to enforce the rules or discipline the children alone, then this could create a divide. Children will start to fear this one parent and go to the other when wanting something. 

Instead, both parents should be the bad guy and good guy together. This shows a strong parental unit that won’t sway one way or the other. If you need guidance from the other parent about how to handle a situation, then wait until you can speak with them in private. 

Formulate a plan of action together and then execute this plan as a team. 

7. Seek Professional Counseling

Different parenting styles ruining a marriage isn’t uncommon, but it is preventable. Raising children is one of the most challenging yet rewarding jobs you’ll ever have. When you and your spouse are struggling to parent your children together, don’t hesitate to contact professional counseling or therapy services.

Speaking with a counselor provides a safe place for you and your spouse to explain and understand one another’s perspectives. You can then come together to solve parenting issues and create a parenting plan that works well for the two of you.

You Can Be One Unit Even With Two Different Parenting Styles

Having two different parenting styles isn’t the end of your marriage. When two parents can come together with their own parenting styles, it’s beneficial for everyone. Take the parenting strengths of each parent and bring them together to create a parenting system and technique that’s effective.

Evergreen Relationship Therapy is dedicated to helping couples improve their relationships and work through differences. Book a free consultation today to get started.