Parenting Is a Learning Process
In an ideal world, parents would stick together and not argue, especially in front of their kids. It doesn’t matter how “on the same page” you were when you first got married or started dating, kids bring up situations that you’ve never even had to think about before, and therefore might not have formed opinions on yet.
As a result, you and your partner might find yourselves realizing you have different ideas about parenting. This doesn’t mean you are incompatible, but simply need to find some strategies to deal with these disagreements when they arise.
The reality is that parents do argue with each other on a very regular basis. But having a heads up on what some of those parenting arguments might be over is a good way to head them off before they happen!
Here are four of the most common parenting arguments with some tips on how these issues can be resolved.
One of the main arguments in my own household is how best to discipline our kids. Often it ends up feeling like a “good cop, bad cop” atmosphere!
Kids sense far more than we realize from a very early age, including what and how much they can get away with. They also tend to know which one of their parents is “the boss” and which one is more lenient!
The best way to deal with this is to find a time when you and your partner are feeling calm (perhaps when the kids have gone to bed) and talk through some ways you think would be appropriate to make your kids more disciplined. These methods don’t necessarily have to be harsh punishments, as kids also respond well to being rewarded for good behavior.
The most important thing is to always support each other in front of your kids. If your partner gives your child a particular punishment which you don’t agree with, don’t disagree with it in front of your child. Instead, wait until you are behind closed doors to discuss what could be done next time.
Following through with a punishment or reward is just as important. If your partner gave your child an ultimatum (whether good or bad), then you both need to uphold that deal, even if it’s not one you would have made.
You may find it helpful to show a written list of your agreed points to your kids. Remember consistency and cooperation are definitely key factors to calm down a tense household atmosphere.
Another popular argument in my own house is how much time kids should spend on their computers and tablets.
While I can see that they definitely have their place in a modern world, I do believe these electronic devices are “too good” and kids can get engrossed in them and end up neglecting other important areas of their lives.
It is crucial to strike a balance — but difficult to do if you partner enjoys these devices as much as your kids do! Perhaps you have a partner who loves watching TV, or enjoys playing computer games with your child.
Both of these have their place on occasion, but make sure it’s in moderation.
Remind you partner that your kids will follow their example. If they ignore this, it may sound a bit drastic, but give in and let your kids have a few hours of screen time so your partner can see for themselves how your kids will more than likely become irritable, even though they are doing something they are enjoying!
Also, if your partner is well-meaning with alternative suggestions, but never seems to follow through on making these activities happen, make sure you write them down in a diary or on a calendar.
I know from experience these nice fun family days out are more likely to be prioritized if they are there in black and white!
Sleep can cause many arguments for parents on a variety of levels. Sleep deprivation caused by what seems like endless nights of being woken up by either a newborn baby or an unsettled child can be potentially harmful to your relationship.
The negative effects of sleep deprivation have been linked to many damaging effects to health including irritability, clumsiness, a decline in memory, an increased chance in feeling anxious or depressed and a lack of sex-drive. It’s no wonder parents argue more if they are overtired!
The topic of sleep in general provides parents with plenty of ground to disagree over. Common arguments include what your kids’ bedtime should be or how long you should spend reading your kids’ stories before bed.
In both instances, a routine needs to be established. If one of your kids wakes up frequently throughout the night, it is best to have a structured system in place to predetermine whose turn it is to deal with them.
With the bedtime issue, research what is fair for each of your kids (you could do this either online or by asking other parents) and make sure the time you agree on is explained to your them and then enforced.
Feelings of Neglect
In the busy world of having to juggle jobs, housework, shopping and family life you can sometimes feel neglected or even taken for granted by your partner, which can lead to arguments.
Try to remember this does work both ways and your partner may feel this way too. Think how you could put the spark back in your relationship.
Although time is more than likely a factor, try to have a “date night” at least on a monthly basis. Get dressed up and do something fun!
If you want to go even simpler, even taking some time once a week to cook a nice meal together and watch a movie will do.
In your day to day life, always be conscious of listening to and supporting each other on the events of the day. A bit of affection can go a long way, too!
Daily Mail (Giving into Toddler Tantrums, Children Sleeping in the Bed and NOT Following Through on Threats: The Ten Things Parents Are Most Likely to Fight About Revealed)
Becoming Minimalist (How to Limit Your Child’s Screen Time)
Your Tango (13 All-Too-Common Family Conflicts (and Experts Tips to Solve ‘Em)
WebMD (10 Things to Hate About Sleep Loss)