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Raising children: finding common ground

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Even though a couple may share the same values, disagreements can arise when the time comes to make concrete decisions about their children. For example, opinions often differ when it comes to discipline. What can be done to reach an agreement in this sort of situation?

It is normal for each parent to have different attitudes and opinions about such things; after all, they were not raised together and they have different personalities. In order to come to an understanding, these differences have to be seen as complementary rather than conflicting; their differences can enrich their parenting as a team.

Here are the three C’s of team parenting and avoiding dissension:

1- Communicate. This can’t be repeated often enough! Take the time to regularly discuss and review your family life and parenting concerns. Doing so generally leads to a consensus.
2- Compromise. Be generous in listening to your partner’s concerns. See where they intersect with your own and make an effort to find a compromise that works for both of you.
3- Be constructive. If you have concerns about the actions of your partner, bring it up in a constructive manner, with the aim of working towards peace and upholding family values. If you lay blame, it simply perpetuates the conflict and prevents progress.

Choose the right time
These discussions are most productive when they take place at the right time, in a peaceful atmosphere and when the children are absent or in bed. Why? It is counterproductive to display your disagreements in front of the children. It causes confusion (the children wonder what their real limits are) and guilt (the children end up believing they are the source of the conflict). Once a solution has been found, the children should be told as soon as possible.

Working as a team to raise children is a winning solution. It makes a colossal task more manageable and far more productive on the long term. Partnering parents are effective parents!



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