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Strategies to Stop Fighting With Husband Over Parenting

Reading time: 9 minutes
Written by
| Updated on
April 22, 2024
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fighting with husband over parenting

What you’ll learn

Are you constantly fighting with husband over parenting decisions? Find solutions to overcome disagreements and create a harmonious family environment. Learn how to address differing upbringing experiences and foster a supportive atmosphere for your children.

Parenting can be a challenging journey, and fighting with husband over parenting can create tension and conflicts within your relationship. Resolving these disagreements is crucial for fostering a healthier family dynamic and ensuring a supportive environment for your children.

There are plenty of reasons why spouses may have differing views on parenting, and addressing the impact of individual upbringing and experiences on parenting styles is the way to work things out. We’re going over some practical strategies for couples to find common ground and bridge their parenting differences, as well as what you can do if things seem too big to solve on your own.

Understand Why Spouses Disagree About Parenting

One of the first steps to stop fighting with husband over parenting is to understand why these disagreements occur in the first place. As an initial step, accepting that conflicts about child-rearing are common and that it’s part of your relationship’s natural maturation can help reduce the stress and emotional charge that comes with these disagreements.

Understanding disagreements in parenting approaches requires looking beyond the surface. It’s not just about who is right or wrong but more about how each parent’s experiences have shaped their beliefs and expectations about parenting. By acknowledging and understanding this, couples can open a dialogue, bridging the gap between their differing parenting styles.

woman crying after fighting with husband

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In essence, fighting with husband over parenting is often rooted in fundamental differences in perceptions and approaches towards child-rearing. They arise from the variety of methods, principles, and philosophies in the parenting world. Often, each spouse might believe their own approach is best, based on their personal experiences, research, cultural beliefs, or even their own upbringing.

Remember that there isn’t one universally correct way of parenting. Each child is unique and may react differently to various parenting styles. While it’s essential to understand the cause of disagreements, it’s equally important to recognize the potential value of your spouse’s differing perspective. Instead of a source of conflict, diverging views can be an opportunity for discussion, learning, and mutual growth in your parenting journey.

Common Reasons Why Spouses May Have Differing Views on Parenting

Several common factors come to light in unraveling the reasons behind spousal disagreements on child-rearing. Awareness of these issues can be a powerful tool in bridging the gap between differing parenting styles. Some common reasons for disagreements include:

  • Variations in Upbringing: Sometimes, how we were brought up significantly impacts our parenting styles. If both spouses had different upbringings, they might differ in their views on the best way to raise their children.
  • Differing Beliefs and Values: Parents often have different beliefs and value systems. These can include views about discipline, education, religion, diet, and lifestyle choices—all of which can directly influence how each parent believes their children should be raised.
  • Temperament and Personality: Like every child, every parent is unique. Our personalities and temperaments dictate how we respond to challenges, including those presented by parenting.
  • Stress and External Pressure: Parenting doesn’t happen in a vacuum, and various external factors can create disagreements. These can include financial stress, pressure from extended family, or even the stress and exhaustion from balancing parenting with other life roles.

Recognizing these factors becomes the cornerstone for a more empathetic and collaborative parenting approach. Couples can forge a collective strategy that resonates with their shared aspirations by understanding and appreciating each other’s viewpoints.

👉 Discover why you and your partner may have different parenting perspectives by exploring various parenting styles. Learn more in our article: What are the different parenting styles? and stop fighting with husband over parenting.

The Impact of Parenting Styles on Children

Differing parenting styles can impact your children differently. Children may feel confused or anxious if there are inconsistencies between the parenting approaches of their parents. They might not know what to expect or whose rules to follow, leading to uncertainty or distress.

Kids tend to model their behavior based on what they observe from their parents, especially when they’re young. If they see their parents constantly disagreeing and unable to compromise, they might imitate this behavior in their own interpersonal relationships. That’s why parents must set a good example by resolving their disagreements in a healthy, respectful manner.

On the other hand, differing parenting styles can also present an opportunity for children to experience diverse perspectives and behaviors. This can help kids become more adaptable and versatile in dealing with different situations and people. But for this to happen, parents must explain their different approaches and values to their children and teach them to appreciate and respect differences rather than see them as sources of conflict.

Can Marriage Survive Different Parenting Styles?

Despite the challenges arising from differing parenting styles, many couples can maintain a healthy relationship and raise well-adjusted children. While parenting disagreements can strain a marriage, proper communication and mutual respect can significantly mitigate their impact. Conflicts don’t have to end in big, dramatic fights. Keeping the other person’s perspective in mind and respecting everyone involved makes it possible to find solutions that work for everyone.

As a hypothetical, consider the case of Mary and James, a couple with divergent views on discipline. Mary believed in strict boundaries and discipline, while James was more laid-back and indulgent. They argued continually until they decided to sit down and really listen to each other’s perspectives. This step enabled them to create a hybrid approach that respected their contrasting styles while putting their children’s welfare at the center.

Taking Personal Responsibility for Your Own Parenting Style

Before diving into resolving disagreements and seeking common ground with your spouse, it’s crucial to take a deep, honest look at your own parenting style. Often, we carry over styles and behaviors from our own upbringing, which might not be beneficial or healthy, either for the particular situation you find yourself in now or just in general. Identifying your own parenting style, explaining its rationale, and being open to its evaluation or criticism is a significant first step in resolving disagreements.

Self-reflection about your own parenting style can be a humbling exercise, but it can also be enlightening. It may involve asking yourself some difficult questions, such as:

  • Am I always modeling the behaviors I want my child to adopt?
  • Am I being consistent in my actions and responses?
  • Am I allowing my stress or external challenges to influence my parenting style?

This personal responsibility may also involve a degree of research and growth. Parenting, like any other skill, requires knowledge and continuous learning. Each child is unique, and the parenting approach that worked for one child may not necessarily work for another.

Understanding your own strengths and weaknesses as a parent can help you to be more compassionate and understanding toward your spouse’s parenting style. It can also make discussions about differing parenting styles less about personal conflict and more about finding the best approach to raising your children.

What to Do When You Don’t Agree With Your Husband’s Parenting: Finding Common Ground

The key to resolving disagreements over parenting is finding a way to agree on parenting decisions. To achieve this, consider these strategies:

  1. Establish Open Communication: Create a safe space where each spouse can express their thoughts, concerns, and expectations regarding parenting without fear of judgment or criticism. 
  2. Seek Compromise: In any disagreement, finding a middle ground that respects both parents’ perspectives is important. This may involve blending elements of each parent’s preferred parenting methods or alternating responsibilities.
  3. Develop a Joint Parenting Plan: Deciding together on matters such as discipline, bedtime, diet, and chores can help reduce arguments and ensure a united front. When these issues inevitably come up, establishing where you both stand on them beforehand avoids fighting at the moment.
  4. Consideration of Each Other’s Feelings: Remember, it’s not just about winning an argument but understanding each other’s point of view. Empathy plays a massive role in resolving disagreements. Try to understand why your partner has a certain parenting style. It is most likely based on their upbringing or something they strongly believe in. Ask each other questions, delve into the reasoning behind each style choice, and discuss it openly. This can not only help resolve current issues but also prevent future disagreements from escalating.
  5. Respect and Patience: Disagreements are inevitable in any relationship. When they happen, approach them with patience and respect. Avoid placing blame or making personal attacks. Instead, focus on the behavior or parenting method you’re discussing and why it’s causing disagreement.
  6. Taking Time Out: Sometimes, in the heat of a disagreement, taking a step back and allowing for some cooling-off time can be beneficial. This can allow both parties to reflect on the situation and what’s been said. It can also provide an opportunity to reassess your own parenting decisions and principles. After taking a short break, you can both come back to the discussion with a clearer mind and a more constructive attitude.

Seeking Professional Help When Fighting With Husband Over Parenting Gets Worse

parents doing couple therapy

Credits: Pexels

Remember, it’s okay to seek professional help if disagreements escalate and begin to harm your relationship. Therapists or counselors trained in relationship and parenting issues can provide unbiased, expert advice and facilitate constructive dialogue. They also have a background in education and conflict resolution, plus an unbiased, professional relationship with both of you. This sets them apart from the perspectives offered by a friend or family member trying to mediate your disagreements.

A professional counselor can help couples understand each other’s parenting styles, identify underlying issues, and devise practical solutions. Uncovering the root of your issues allows you to better resolve conflicts rather than circle the drain, arguing in circles without really resolving anything. Engaging in family therapy can also strengthen the relationship by improving communication skills and fostering empathy.

Even when you aren’t experiencing significant problems in your relationship, seeking help can be a benefit. Having a third party to discuss things with occasionally can help you better understand your needs and stop problems before they happen. The skills you learn in these sessions can only serve to help in the future.

Practical Tips for Effective Co-Parenting

While fighting over parenting doesn’t in any way mean you’ll eventually divorce, divorce is a possibility in any marriage. Even when spouses decide to separate, though, there is still a need to maintain a collaborative parenting relationship. Below are some practical tips to help manage issues around fighting over parenting when you’ve separated from your partner:

  • Always Put Children First: Regardless of disagreements, remember that the child’s well-being should be the central focus. Fighting to try to score points over your ex-partner only serves to worsen your relationship and make things harder for your child.
  • Create a Consistent Schedule: Consistency can help ease children’s adjustment, so try to agree on a predictable schedule for spending time with each parent. It’s also beneficial to involve your child in planning these schedules, as making them feel more involved will help them retain some sense of control in what’s often a tumultuous situation.
  • Develop a Unified Approach to Parenting Issues: Despite your differences, strive to maintain consistency in rules, discipline, and other parenting matters. Try to stay on the same page with regard to diet, bedtimes, homework, recreation, and more to avoid fostering a lopsided relationship.
  • Flexibility and Compromise: You might not always agree on everything with your ex, but try to be flexible and compromise where possible for your child’s sake. Remember, the end goal is to provide your child with a stable, healthy environment.
  • Stay Positive and Supportive: Try to maintain a positive attitude for the sake of your children. Avoid speaking negatively about your ex in the presence of your children and provide reassurance and support to help them adjust to the new situation.

👉 Divorced and unsure how to coparent? Learn essential steps in our article to effectively support your children post-divorce: How to Coparent Successfully: 5 Essential Steps.

Work With Your Husband to Be the Best Parents Possible

At the end of the day, while disagreements and clashes over parenting styles can be challenging, they can be managed effectively with understanding, open communication, and compromise. Whether you’re trying to find common ground with your husband or seeking the help of a professional, these strategies can help ease the stress of differing parenting views and cultivate a healthier, happier family dynamic.

If you’re having problems or just want to be the best parent you can be, consider engaging in self-determination theory-based parenting classes or counseling. These resources can provide the tools and insights necessary to navigate parenting disagreements and build a more harmonious relationship. Join our online parenting class, ‘I’m Sick of You! How to Stop Arguing with Your Partner and Kids and Work as a Team’ and build a harmonious household today.

Got burning parenting questions? Ask Sophie, our clever AI assistant, for expert guidance and personalized advice. Don’t navigate parenthood alone – get the support you need today!

happy family with two kids

Credits: Pexels

Resources

Buccheri, T., Musaad, S., Kelly K. Bost, K., Fiese, B. (2018). Development and assessment of stressful life events subscales – A preliminary analysis. Journal of Affective Disorders. 226. 178-187. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2017.09.046

Chong, L.J., Mirzadegan, I.A., Meyer, A. (2020). The association between parenting and the error-related negativity across childhood and adolescence Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 45. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dcn.2020.100852

Clark, A. E., Diener, E., Georgellis, Y., Lucas, R. E. (2008). Lags and Leads in Life Satisfaction: A Test of the Baseline Hypothesis. The Economic Journal, 118(529), F222–F243. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-0297.2008.02150.x

Fletcher, A. (n.d.). Positive discipline and child guidance. University of Missouri Extension. https://extension.missouri.edu/publications/gh6119

Radomir-Belitoiu, R. (2019). The Relationship between Parental Styles, Anger Management, and Cognitive-Emotional Coping Mechanisms in Adolescents. Journal of Experiential Psychotherapy, 22(4), 17–24.

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