This post is part of the 30 Days Towards Connected Parenting series.
One of the things I love about my partner is that he’s passionate about parenting as well. We talk about it a lot. Ok, I do a lot more talking and he does more listening but we’re always discussing what we think we’re doing well, or not so well. We talk about what we could do differently and any concerns we have. We come up with plans if we identify a problem and we support each other to do our best. I really think it’s so so important to have both parents on the same page when it comes to parenting. If you haven’t yet I really encourage you to sit down and have an in depth chat about things. Here’s what we do…
Talk about our goals
We need to be working towards the same thing. What are your parenting goals? What qualities and values do you want to support and nurture in your children? What is important to you? What kind of parent do you want to be? What do you want your children to remember about you?
Talk about our views on children and parenting. Do they need to change?
We’re constantly reevaluating why we do things. Have we thought about why we’re parenting the way we are, or are we just following what we know from our childhoods or what society expects? For example we fell into a pattern of enforcing a bedtime for our kids for a while there. They were taking longer and longer to go to sleep and really fighting us on it. We decided this wasn’t working and discussed why we had decided bedtime had to be at 7pm. We had naturally expected that we had to tell the kids when to go to bed because that’s what we knew. We’d always had a bedtime as kids. We decided that this was no good reason to keep going with it and it obviously wasn’t working, so we came up with our own plan and ditched bedtime altogether! It works for us, and it works for our kids. Reassess why you do things and decide if there’s a better way that works for your family.
Discover our strengths and weaknesses
We talk about what our strengths and weaknesses are in parenting. We help each other come up with ways to deal with our weaknesses, and support each other through them. It’s also been helpful to talk about why we think some things are harder for us. Whether it’s because of how we were parented ourselves, or it brings up memories of something we’ve dealt with in the past. It’s good to talk through that with someone.
Parenting is always an ongoing conversation here. It’s not something that you talk about once and then you’re done. Things happen, children grow and change, you have more children and all their personalities are different! We need to keep the lines of communication open so that we remain on the same page.
Don’t accuse or blame
When something happens and the other person makes a mistake, it’s really not helpful to accuse or blame them. Sometimes it’s an instant reaction but we try not to do that. Parenting is hard work, we’re not going to get it right every time. Instead of telling them what you think they did wrong you can just ask how they felt about what happened, why they think it happened, and what you both think would be the best way to handle something similar in the future. Parenting together means one person is not telling the other what to do, you work things out and come up with solutions together.
I can only speak from experience so I can’t talk about single parenting, or blended families, but this is how we approach parenting together. I think to help build a strong connection with your children both parents really need to try hard to align their parenting styles. It would be really difficult for example to parent with connection if your partner was undermining that by relying on punitive methods. If you want to move toward more connected parenting then having the support of your partner can be extremely helpful.
How often do you discuss parenting with your partner?