Different Parenting Styles Ruining Marriage – What to Do?

In a marriage, it is normal to disagree from time to time. When done respectfully and fairly, disagreements can lead to connection and growth.

However, when children are involved, having different parenting styles can lead to numerous disagreements and can eventually ruin a marriage.

Typical complaints between spouses revolve around one parent having to be the disciplinarian while the other might be more permissive.

Parenting styles can be influenced by deeply ingrained cultural factors, your parents’ parenting styles, your childhood, society’s expectations, and even your current stress levels.

When you find your different parenting styles are ruining your marriage, it is important to protect your marriage, form a tight-knit team, and shift your attention toward your common goal, your children.

Continue reading for some helpful solutions to prevent your different parenting styles from ruining your marriage.

Parenting Styles

Authoritarian Style

parent scolding a girl

This parenting style is parent-driven and focuses on setting strict rules and punishment with little consideration for the child’s social, emotional, and behavioral needs.

Communication is typically one-sided with this parenting style.

Authoritative Style

In this style, the parent focuses on solving problems with the child while setting clear rules and expectations.

Here, the parent aims to have open communication with their child and allows for natural consequences to occur.

This is the most recommended type of parenting style.

Permissive Style

This type of parenting style is child-driven, meaning that the parent rarely gives or enforces the rules. In an attempt to avoid conflict, the parent usually overindulges the child.

Uninvolved/Neglectful Style

This is the most undesirable parenting style as the parent is essentially uninvolved or absent entirely resulting in the child having little nurturance or guidance.

The parent is usually indifferent to their child’s social, emotional, and behavioral needs.

Solutions When You Disagree on Parenting

  1. Put Your Marriage First

Parenting is a challenging yet rewarding job. When conflict arises due to differences in parenting styles, it is important to remember you are on the same team.

Presenting a unified parenting team teaches your children about patience, collaboration, commitment, and respect.

Modeling a healthy relationship is the greatest gift you can give your children.

  1. Take a Break When You Disagree

When tempers flare and you feel your defenses rising, it is time to step back and take a break.

Most of the time, you will not need to settle on a decision immediately. Allow yourself time to calm your emotions. No one makes reasonable decisions when emotions are running high.

When you and your partner are ready, take turns speaking. Listen without judging or interrupting.

By listening objectively, you validate your spouse, and you lower feelings of frustration and resentment you may be building up.

  1. Support Your Spouse in Their Decisions

When faced with an issue about your children, your spouse may find a solution without talking to you first.

Support your partner in front of your children, even if you do not agree with the decision. It is important to show a unified front for your children.

Once you are alone, you can discuss their choice. This will help reduce arguments, especially in front of your children.

Allowing space to discuss your differences will help you understand your spouse’s reasons behind their decision.

Furthermore, supporting each other in your decisions will help prevent your different parenting styles from ruining your marriage.

  1. Communicate with Your Spouse Regularly

man and woman at a coffee shop

Everyone thinks through a situation differently.

Yet, when the conflict becomes more about who’s wrong and who’s right and not the parenting issue at hand, it may prove difficult to discuss your position freely.

In such a case, your different stances and parenting styles could ruin your marriage.

When this happens, it is important to remember you have a common goal, raising healthy, emotionally resilient children.

Listen to each other without judgment to understand what drives your partner’s thinking.

Compromise. Discuss boundaries, and set limits, rules, and consequences for your children. And agree not to make each other the bad guy in front of your children or to undermine each other.

Communicate often. Having regular conversations can be a good way to check in with each other and get in front of any potential issues.

  1. Define Your Parenting Style

Figuring out your parenting style will allow you to focus on the positive aspects of your method.

Once you understand the logic behind your style and the factors that have influenced you, such as your childhood or culture, share your findings and expectations with your spouse.

Learn about their parenting style. This will allow you to understand each other further and come up with a mutually acceptable parenting strategy thus avoiding your parenting styles from ruining your marriage.

  1. Establish Family Rules

As you figure out your parenting styles, you will be able to come up with rules that are more in line with your values, even if your methods are different.

Setting rules, expectations, and consequences will allow you to be consistent when confronted with an unexpected issue.

  1. Use Your Differences as Your Strengths

Understanding your different parenting styles will help you find a balance between them.

Conflicting parenting styles can be confusing for children. However, if you focus on the positive aspects and values of each of your styles you can learn to see your differences as an asset instead of a weakness.

Play on each of your strengths to help your children based on their needs.

When you understand your strengths and are willing to be flexible with your parenting style, you may be able to complement your spouse’s parenting style instead of conflicting with it.

  1. Validate Your Child’s Feelings

woman carrying a baby talking to her little boy

You may not always agree with your spouse’s decisions; however, you can validate your child’s feelings without undermining them.

You can express support and understanding for both your partner and your child, without speaking negatively about either one.

Having a plan to connect with your child during moments of disagreement will allow you to be less resentful and more supportive of your spouse and their decisions.

Final Thoughts

Raising a child comes with many challenges. At times, it may feel like your different parenting styles are ruining your marriage.

However, having strategies in place to reset and break the conflict cycle can help you manage your differences more effectively.

If after implementing some of these strategies, conflict continues or escalates, reaching out to a professional couples’ or family counselor or therapist may prove helpful as your different parenting styles could ruin your marriage and potentially lead to divorce.

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