Help! My partner and I have different parenting styles

You and your partner discussed a lot of things before Baby was born, but no matter how much you talked about the details of how you were going to parent Baby, issues are bound to come up that you never got around to. 

But now that your family has embarked on the parenting voyage, when you notice that you and your partner have different methods for parenting Baby, it’s a good idea to start trying to find middle ground. Here are steps you can take if you notice some discord between your parenting style and your partner’s.

See disagreements as a learning opportunity

You and your partner have been developing your own personal belief systems since childhood. It’s inevitable that some of these beliefs will conflict from time to time! These moments of disagreement are a good chance for the two of you to learn about each other, and to figure out which issues are most important for you to stand your ground on. They also give you an opportunity to compromise, which makes your parenting methods and your family even stronger in the long run.

Make it a point not to argue in front of Baby

It’s a good idea to keep Baby out of your disagreements with your partner. In the moment it can be difficult, but keeping a united front with your partner reinforces your authority to Baby as parents and as a team. Plus, undermining your partner in front of Baby can cause them to not want to compromise with you when it’s time to work things out.

Have a discussion when Baby is out of the room and both of you are calm

Maybe you and your partner had drastically different upbringings, and disagree on many points, or perhaps it’s a rare occasion when the two of you just don’t see eye-to-eye. Either way, it’s good to talk things out in private and get to the root of why each of you feels the way you feel. Even if you have a strong opinion about the issue, if you’re open-minded about your partner’s perspective, you may be able to come up with some sort of negotiation strategy that allows you both to meet in the middle.

Remember your goals as a parent

It would be satisfying to be able to parent Baby exactly the way that you want to. But you and your partner are in this for the long haul, and your habits need to be sustainable – meaning that things will be a lot more difficult in the long run if the two of you don’t learn how to make your different parenting styles work together. Your goal as a parent isn’t to win the most arguments or prove that you know more about raising a child than your partner does. Instead, it is to teach Baby valuable lessons and equip them with the ability to make good decisions as they get older.

Set aside some time to look ahead with your partner

It’s possible that you and your partner will never again disagree on parenting issues. But it’s still a good idea to see where each of you stands before certain things come up. Try to make it a habit to occasionally talk about how both of you would handle situations in the future. Make sure that both of you are on board with having each other’s backs in front of Baby, even if you disagree off-sides.

The bottom line

While Baby is this young, you and your partner will have lots of chances to learn about each other and practice reaching compromises when you disagree on parenting issues. The more you try, the more likely it is that Baby learns the important lessons that you and your partner want them to know. 

  • “Practice Guide for Effective Discipline.” AAP. American Academy of Pediatrics, 2011. Web.
  • Emily Hughes. “Types of Parenting Styles and How to Identify Yours.” Vanderbilt. Developmental Psychology at Vanderbilt, Dec 2013. Web.

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