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Parenting on the Same Page

“You coddle him.” “You’re too tough on her.” Are there differences in the way you and your partner parent? All parents have strengths and all parents have challenges. Most couples struggle to get it right.

I’ve been teaching parenting classes for several years. I’ve heard, “This is how I was disciplined, and I turned out just fine.” I’ve also heard, “I don’t want to parent like my parents did. I want to get it right, but I’m unsure how to handle certain situations.” And lately, “It’s a whole new world out there. I want my children to be prepared and safe.”

Parenting practices are naturally passed down from generation to generation. However, what worked a generation ago, may not be effective today. Our understanding of child development and the needs of children have evolved along with technology and our standard of living. What our parents and grandparents knew to be true is often put to the test. For instance, we know children do need to be seen and heard, and children need to be thinkers and problem-solvers. Parenting schools of thought are moving away from teaching obedience to building respectful relationships.

So, what’s a parent to do? In our day-to-day world when emotions run high, it’s easy to disagree on how to handle challenges. It is important for us to understand where our own parenting beliefs came from and why our partner reacts to parenting challenges the way they do. I tell couples to take time for reflection and to discern if what they’re currently doing is helpful or harmful in the long run. What is their child really learning, if yelling and spanking, or shaming and criticizing are used to correct their behavior? On the flip side, what is your child learning if there are no rules or expectations?

I encourage parents to get on the same page by asking, “How is what we’re doing today helping our child gain the confidence they need to make positive choices in the future? What are our strengths? Where do we need to energize change?”

Parents who work together can create a harmonious home where their children thrive today and succeed in the future.

In order to get on the same parenting page, try these tips:

  • Explore your parenting beliefs, learn something new, and provide a unified front.
  • Operate with a high degree of warmth and regard for your children and each other.
  • Give clear and consistent messages about expectations and behavior.
  • Model positive ways to express emotions. Validate feelings and teach self-regulation.
  • Model positive ways to resolve conflict. Use I statements and negotiate respectfully.

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About Michele Tryon, CCLS

About Michele  Tryon, CCLS Michele Tryon, CHKD community outreach coordinator and parent educator has worked with children and families for 30 years, providing services in the hospital, home, school and community setting. Michele is a Certified Child Life Specialist, a Certified Positive Discipline™ parent educator, a nationally recognized trainer/consultant for Nurturing Parenting Programs™ and co-author of The Nurturing Program for Parents and Their Children with Special Needs and Health Challenges©.