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  • Writer's pictureTehilla Luttig

7 Tips To Sync Your Parenting Styles

Parenting with your partner can sometimes feel like navigating a maze blindfolded – you know there’s an exit, but you’re exhausted, there’s a million to do’s, kids that get sick or schools that throw spanners into the works whenever you least expect it, and not to mention the pain of our own childhoods that often resurface when parenting mini-me’s! And when you have to navigate this maze with different ideas of whats okay and who does what - it’s a wonder any of us make it through. But with teamwork, communication, and a good sense of humour (and therapy if possible) it can be a very special time.

Here’s how you can blend your parenting styles into a joint adventure instead of a perilous journey.

Tip 1: Team Spirit Check: Are You Both in This Together?

Before diving into strategies and solutions, take a moment to really assess if you and your partner are on the same team.

Do you both want to keep your kids safe? Do you both want to do this together, as a couple?

Do you both want your children to be happy (in limits)?

Do you both agree you’re parents?

The how comes later. First see if you’re in this together and have a conversation with your partner. Ask questions more than stating facts. A good question, for example, could be: “What sort of dad / mom would you like to be? And how does that look in our family for you? How can I support you with that?”

NOTE: If your partner expects you to do it all, and you don’t know if he / she cares about you or the kids - please seek therapy. Get yourself support to build your confidence, trust your needs, build your boundaries and strengthen your ability to have the needed conversations. Also be sure to check out my blog coming soon (Does your partner not care or is he just oblivious).

Tip 2: Reflect on Your Childhood: Understanding Your Parenting Prototype

Our parenting instincts are often inherited from our own upbringing.

Our first relationships form the foundation of what we believe about ourselves, love, and how reliable others are. Being in a relationship can really bring out old wounds, and having children can be extra challenging as we are forced to face (or keep ignoring) our little selves. Our inner children.

Spend some time individually reflecting on what aspects of your childhood you appreciated and which ones you didn’t. What made you feel loved and safe, and what didn’t?

Sharing these reflections with your partner not only deepens your understanding of each other but also highlights areas where you might unknowingly clash or harmonize.

Tip 3: The Control Dilemma: Balancing Authority and Autonomy

A common area of discord in co-parenting is the need for control, which often stems from our deepest insecurities. Reflect on instances where you might be insisting on certain rules or routines more out of habit than necessity. Discuss with your partner how these control issues manifest and explore areas where you can afford to be more flexible or where compromise is needed for harmony.

One of the biggest gifts to our parenting journey was when I was invited to speak at a couples therapist summit in the USA (my family and I live in South Africa). At that stage my children were only 2 & 3 years old - and I had never slept more than a night or two away from them - and never more than an hours drive. And now I was going on a 36 hour flight far away! Needless to say I was intimidated beyond belief and made lists of note for my husband to follow ot a T. Their likes, dislikes, nap times - all of it.

Boothbay Harbor, 2018: Couples Therapy Inc Conference

Turns out he didn’t use the list. But every time I called the children where healthy, safe, and happy! I had to learn that he also has a way and that my way isn’t the only way. It bought so much more peace to our routines and conversations. I realized that the other parent brings a side to the relationship that we can’t, and if we don’t allow any room for that person to be them - we stifle that relationship. (Note: this is done with logic of what is safe and healthy for children and not if your partner is irresponsible and unsafe to be left alone).

I highly recommend individual coaching or counselling if you struggle with control and feel super anxious with the whole parenting thing. It doesn’t need to stay this hard.

Tip 4: Unifying Your Family Values: Crafting a Shared Vision

Take some time and really reflect on this:

What core values do you want to instil in your children?

Whether it’s kindness, honesty, resilience, or all of the above, it’s crucial that you and your partner have a heart-to-heart about your family’s moral compass. This conversation isn’t just about reaching agreement but about weaving together your individual values into a shared family ethos that guides your parenting decisions. It might seem obvious to you, but putting pen to paper and then talking about it too can help you see where you are living out of alignment and what values are yours or maybe what pressures are you putting on yourself that aren’t necessary. Values direct our behaviours subconsciously and are super important with families to get very clear on.

Having a family is a 24-7 job and a lot of expectations and unthankful jobs. Take some time to thank yourself and your partner more often. And ask them for appreciation too if necessary. It is the most important job in the world.


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