Harmonizing Parenting Styles: Sifting Through the Minefield of Co-Parenting in a Marriage

One of the world’s most challenging tasks is parenting children. Responsibility for children’s physical and mental well-being as well as their future stability is a great load to bear. It seems sense that we all disagree on the proper course of action. You have probably met parents that had vastly divergent perspectives and thought processes from your own. But what if your parenting partner has contrasting views? If you and your partner disagree on the ideal way to raise children, you are not alone. Different parenting styles are one of the most frequent reasons for conflict in marriages.

Different parenting styles do not have to drive a couple apart; on the contrary, they may be mutually helpful if they are handled properly. Every parent wants the best for their kids, but how does that look in your household and is there any evidence to back up a certain parenting style? Let’s examine the most popular approaches to raising children and discuss how to settle parenting disagreements.

Different Approaches to Parenting

It might be challenging to raise kids with a partner who has a different parenting approach.  But what are the many approaches to raising a child? Is there proof as to which method works best? Of course, everyone has an opinion on what works best, but is there any evidence to support these claims? Most studies are based on the Baumrind model, however, there are as many as 10 alternative approaches to parenting discussed in various blogs and articles. Authoritative, Authoritarian, and Permissive are the three types of parenting that Diana Baumrind identified. Later, Maccoby and Martin of Stanford University added a fourth category they called “Neglectful,” which they defined as “Uninvolved.”

●       Authoritative


The authoritative parent enforces their norms and consequences reliably. They care deeply for their children and show a great deal of devotion toward them. A common synonym for the authoritative style is the “tender teacher.” These parents expect a lot from their kids, but only to the extent that they can reasonably provide for it. They tend to be receptive to children’s needs and provide them with tender, loving attention. Instead of using frequent incentives or coercion, correction focuses on reasoning with the youngster. They take an active interest in their kids’ lives, but they also give them room to develop their personalities and aren’t overwhelming. The American Psychological Association reports that children reared in such settings have high levels of self-confidence, energy, curiosity, achievement orientation, and self-control. Researchers and psychologists in the field of child development almost universally agree that the authoritative approach is the best.

●       Authoritarian

authoritarian parenting children

Controlling and “rigid” are two words that are often used to define the authoritarian parenting style.  These parents expect a lot from their kids and enforce a rigid set of rules. The child’s feelings are not as important or are not seen to be as important. Those parents are the “because I said so” types. Neither the child’s wishes nor the child’s understanding are ever taken into account. When kids get spanked for small violations without being told why it’s wrong or how to prevent it in the future, they may feel lost and bewildered.

●       Permissive

permissive parenting children

Permissive parents are loving yet lax with their children. These parents either opt to overlook their child’s misbehavior or try to pacify it with material rewards. Instead of taking on the position of disciplinarian, they make an effort to be friends with their child. Children are not constantly supervised and are given little responsibility. One alternative term for these parents is “indulgent.” They have minimal expectations for their children’s maturity and self-control. It’s common for people to say things like, “He’s just a baby,” “Oh, he’s just a little boy,” and “Well, boys will be boys.”  They rarely accept blame for whatever their kid has done. They place less importance on responsibility and self-control in favor of open lines of communication and self-regulation with their child.

●       Neglectful

neglectful parenting children

An “uninvolved” parenting style is synonymous with inattentive parenting.  These parents have no firm guidelines and are rarely reachable. The kids are just left to their own devices, with no guidance or consequences, regardless of whether they’re behaving well or poorly. This type of parenting can take various forms, but it always results in the child’s needs going unfulfilled. They might not have showered or dressed appropriately. They frequently hear and see content that is unsuitable for their age group.

Two Directions to Parenting

You may guess that parents frequently disagree on the optimal method for raising their kids. Although studies have shown that an authoritative style of leadership is most effective, it is not appropriate for all situations or people. In all candor, it requires a great deal of effort, perseverance, and commitment. It’s unrealistic to expect any parent to maintain that level of effort indefinitely. Genetics, personality, and upbringing all have a role in shaping a parent’s approach to parenting. The cultural, religious, and psychological standards of the parents also have a role.

It’s normal to have disagreements on how to raise children with your partner. If you or your children are being abused, you must remove yourself and your children from the abusive situation immediately. Except in such extreme cases, most problems may be handled via cooperative effort and open dialogue. If parents can work together, their children may benefit from having two different parenting styles.

Uncovering Hidden Indicators: How Different Parenting Styles May Be Affecting Your Child’s Well-Being

According to professionals, if you and your spouse frequently argue in front of your kids about how to punish them, it might confuse and upset them. The quality of the parent-child relationship may also suffer as a result of the breakdown in your marriage since the kids may feel as though they have to choose between their parents. This can harm the quality of your parent-child connection. One red flag is if your kids favor one parent over the other in terms of whom they want to spend time with. Young kids frequently favor their mothers under particular circumstances. That is normal, but if your kids always choose the parent that gives in to their demands instead of the other, you may have a problem on your hands.

Don’t worry if you and your partner argue frequently over parenting, rules, chores, or behavior expectations for your kids. It’s not a sign that you should give up. Maybe you only need to tweak things a little bit.

The impact of different parenting styles on relationships

Disagreement can arise from any variation in parenting approach. The best of friends may still quarrel as parents. Two authoritarian parents may share a common view that discipline and love are paramount. However, they may have different interpretations of this. Is it okay to take a break? When is it appropriate to praise or reprimand a child? What actions are not permitted?

Large gaps in parenting philosophy might make things much more difficult. Some frequent disagreements involve:

●        Authoritarian versus Authoritative

They can have different ideas about how much love their child needs. They could disagree on the timing and severity of discipline for a child. Additionally, these parents could disagree on whether to praise positive behavior.

●         Authoritative vs. Permissive Roles

Dominant vs. Submissive Roles parenting children

Both permissive and authoritative parents may recognize the importance of affection and love for their children. However, they may have serious differences of opinion over the regulations to be enforced and how to do so.

●        Permissive versus Uninvolved

The goal of permissive parents is to show their children a great deal of affection. Uninvolved parents seek very little contact with their kids. The permissive parent could start to feel burdened by all the attention they have to give.

●       Authoritarian versus Permissive

democratic parenting children

There may be a divide between authoritarian and permissive parents on the topic of discipline. Some permissive parents may accuse their authoritarian counterparts of abuse. Permissive parents may be viewed as inattentive by authoritarian parents.

●       Authoritative versus Uninvolved

disengaged parenting children

Authoritative parenting takes a lot of work. Significant direction and lots of love are provided. Uninvolved parents may choose to watch from the sidelines. Intractable tensions may arise when parents have such fundamentally different worldviews.

Parental discord often arises from stylistic differences. Major differences between parents might arise from different cultural values, opinions about social conventions, or political views. Some parents, for instance, consider spanking to be abusive. It may be seen as a discipline by others.

How to handle different parenting styles in a Marriage?

Let’s dive in to find out the best ways for handling different parenting styles in your marriage.

1.      Communicate

Raising children with two distinct parenting styles requires a great deal of communication, as does just much every other part of a relationship. Set aside some time to talk to your lover when you’re both feeling relaxed. Talk it out, blame-free, about the parenting issues that have you worried. Avoid using phrases like “I despise the way you…”  You may change the tone of the conversation by saying something like, “I would like to see ____ happen in our household.”  Make a list of your parenting disagreements and collaborate to find a solution you can both live with. Think through potential scenarios and plan for them in detail. Talk about the next steps you’ll take if your child repeats the same undesirable behavior. When you have a strategy in place. Don’t give up!

If things grow heated, it’s best to take a break and return to the discussion later. The point is to work out a strategy with your significant other that puts you both on the same side. You both care deeply for your kids and want what’s best for them. Keep in mind that you are not at odds with one another. You shouldn’t try to win an argument since you’re all in this together. You and your partner should come up with a plan for raising your kids that you’re both comfortable with and that accounts for things like good manners, emotional well-being, and age-appropriate boundaries.

2. Don’t Let Anyone See That

It’s important to avoid arguments in front of the kids if you and your partner have different opinions on how to raise the kids. Children are very attuned to their parent’s feelings, and when they witness their parents arguing, it not only causes them tension and anxiety but also makes them feel like they need to pick a side. If you and the child’s other parent are always at odds, the kid has no idea what is expected of them or how to behave. When the kids are around, it’s important to put up a unified face and back your partner’s decisions. Let off some steam and hash things out once the little ones have gone to bed or are not around.

3.  Recognize the Value

Your choice of a lifelong companion is not random. There are probably a great many qualities about them that you adore. Keep in mind that the one you care about comes from somewhere. Your in-laws are probably trying to raise your kids the same way they were. So, a person with their parenting style may turn up to be just what you hoped they would be. In moderation, it might be advantageous to have a combination of parenting approaches at home. Look for a middle ground where you may both feel comfortable and at ease by fusing your preferred approaches.

4.  Learn different parenting styles

Parenting is difficult.  It’s a steep learning curve, and just when you think you’ve got it figured out, here comes your second child with an entirely new personality and set of behavioral challenges. The process of learning never ends. Spend some time researching. Find a parent you admire to serve as your mentor. Gain insight from a variety of parenting books. After reading the studies, you might rethink your ideal parenting style. Spend some time getting to know your kids and figuring out how they think and act. Each child is unique and will react to your parenting style differently. Stay strong. Keep studying!

5. Take Care of Your Marriage

Your connection with your spouse is the foundation of your home. Don’t forget that the two of you created this situation. A child’s sense of safety may be found in their parent’s interactions. Even while it’s natural to put the kids first, especially when arguing over how to raise them, it’s important to remember that you and your partner have a relationship too. There is probably more to your annoyance with each other than meets the eye. Make sure to have some adult conversations outside of child-related topics. Spend time together as a pair by going out. Rekindle the flame that flamed the beginning of your family. You’re a team now, and you’ll still be once the kids are grown. Maintain a solid connection for the sake of your family’s future.

6.  Develop some flexibility

The way you raise your children should be adaptable to their changing needs. You and your partner should regularly evaluate your parenting strategies. Think about the kind of person your kid is.

To varying degrees, all children require adult supervision. Some children have a more pleasant disposition, while others are more manipulating. The child’s requirements should be taken into account while you craft your approach.

7.  Make “family time” a top priority

Parents often simplify their own lives. Discuss and decide on major issues like where to go on vacation this summer or how to spend this weekend with the family. Good family time is really important.  The hardest part should be coming up with creative methods to spend meaningful family time.

8.  Establish your child’s primary role

The routine should be shaped by the job. Your kid’s primary responsibility is to learn. This is one of our favorite pieces of parenting advice: “The goal of parenting is to help our children become responsible adults.” Many folks spend 40 or more hours each week at their jobs. The average school week for a youngster is 37.5 hours long.  Conflicts arise frequently when parents discuss their children’s extracurricular activities. This might be aided by zeroing in on your child’s top priority. 

9.  Get some assistance on different parenting styles


If the issue cannot be resolved through conversation, seek assistance!  Consult with an expert in the field of child development to figure out what needs to be done. Many parents just aren’t aware that there is another option. Whether out of habit or out of resentment, most of us raise our kids in the same manner we were. Either way, the way we were raised filters into the way we bring up our kids. A qualified outsider can provide a fresh perspective on the problem and objective advice on how to proceed.


Parenting differences are a typical source of friction in relationships, especially given the intensity of feelings on both sides. Even if you and your partner do not agree on how to raise your children, you may take comfort in the fact that you both love and want the best for your children.

Work hard to pay attention to one another, communicate with respect, and hold talks where small ears cannot hear what you are saying. In addition, make an effort to put yourself in your partner’s shoes, listen to what they have to say, and be open to finding common ground.

Seek professional treatment from a mental health expert if you and your partner cannot resolve your differences or if one of you is habitually condescending or harsh. They can teach you how to have more fruitful conversations and provide you with the resources you need to work together more efficiently.

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