The styles you and your partner have will either facilitate working together or not. Are you both reactive? Is one person reactive while the other parent wavers? Here are some strategies for blending styles that will make it easier for you to be proactive as you parent together.
- Identify your styles. Talk about this when neither of you is upset about a parenting dilemma.
- Think about what steps you can take to adopt a more proactive style.
- Make the time to discuss what each of you will do to blend the best of your styles. Your goal is to present to your child more unity around limit setting.
- Review what your limits really are. It will be impossible to convey them to your child if you are unclear about what rules are non-negotiable.
- Decide, in advance and away from your child, how you will handle discipline issues that you don't agree on. Don't let your child know that he has the power to start arguments between you.
- Offer support. Create a signal between you and your partner that conveys you need help when you are in conflict with your child.
- Take a break. If one parent is in conflict with the child and the other disagrees with what is happening, take time out to discuss the plan. Tell your child you will get back to her when the two of you have decided how to handle the problem.
Respecting each other as you present a united front is the key to parenting together. Take the time to reflect on what brought you together in the first place. Especially when times are tough, remember that the respect you show each other is the respect your child is learning to have for you.