Parenting styles vary greatly among individuals. From “crunchy mammas” to helicopter parents, everyone has their own approach. The key is finding what works best for your family while respecting others’ choices. Let’s delve into the challenge when you and your spouse have different parenting styles.
The Impact of Our Upbringing
Our own upbringing significantly influences how we raise our children and discipline them. Both my husband and I were raised by parents with contrasting approaches to parenting.
Personally, my father’s mental illness caused him to be verbally abusive, constantly complaining and insulting us. Consequently, my mother played an instrumental role in raising me and my sister. She was firm but fair, loving, supportive, and a great example.
On the other hand, my husband’s mother was amazing, while his father lacked supportiveness. His sarcastic and critical behavior towards his wife and children left a lasting impression on my husband. Sadly, these traits were passed down to my husband and his brothers, observed firsthand during our visits.
Breaking the Cycle
Despite growing up under his father’s critical and unsympathetic influence, my husband is determined to break the cycle. But change is never easy. Our upbringing shapes our attitudes and lifestyles, which we carry throughout our lives.
So, how does this impact our family? Well, my parenting style tends to be gentler. I believe in talking things through, offering hugs and encouragement, trying to empathize and understand our boys’ feelings. Of course, I also provide necessary discipline, but I strive to be supportive rather than critical.
Conversely, my husband can sometimes be harsh with our boys, making biting remarks like his father did. He tends to accuse before finding out what really happened. His sarcasm, meant to be funny, ends up hurting our boys. Additionally, he unknowingly puts pressure on them to excel academically, behave a certain way, and partake in extracurricular activities.
The Struggle and the Hope
Observing how our boys react to my husband’s critical remarks breaks my heart. I know my husband is trying, and he has made progress, but it remains challenging. Having experienced daily mental abuse from my own father, I understand the pain.
We’ve discussed the issue, and he acknowledges the need for change. I try to remind him gently, but it’s not an easy conversation to have. It’s difficult to say, “You’re behaving like your father, who you don’t want to emulate, and you’re being too harsh and critical towards our boys,” without hurting his feelings.
In truth, my husband fears becoming like his father, and I don’t blame him. Although his father was not a wretched man, he lacked sympathy, frequently uttering critical and hurtful words unknowingly.
I admit that I’m not perfect either. I make mistakes with our boys, and there are aspects I need to improve. However, we do agree on many things and approach them similarly. It becomes challenging when we encounter areas where we have different parenting styles.
Luckily, we both recognize that we are a work in progress. In fact, we are embarking on family counseling to navigate these challenges. Seeking professional help is nothing to be ashamed of; an external perspective can guide us in the right direction.
My Advice for Your Journey
If you find yourselves in a similar situation, I offer the following advice:
- Persevere: Don’t give up; change is possible. The first step is acknowledging and admitting what’s happening.
- Open Communication: Find gentle ways to discuss your concerns with your spouse. The sandwich method, offering constructive criticism with positive feedback, can work wonders.
- Express Your Feelings: Communicate with your spouse, sharing how you feel, and be open to hearing their perspective. From there, you can work towards finding common ground.
- Seek Professional Help: There’s no shame in seeking professional assistance. Sometimes an outside perspective can propel us in the right direction.
Remember, parenting styles are unique to each individual, and overcoming differences takes time and effort. By actively working together, you can navigate these challenges and create a harmonious environment for your family to thrive.
Do you and your partner have different parenting styles? How has it impacted your family and relationship?
To learn more about Thumbuddy To Love’s parenting solutions, visit their website at Thumbuddy To Love.