Different Parenting Styles And How To Compromise

17/04/2011 18:31 | Updated 22 May 2015

coupleRumour has it the Jolie-Pitt tribe is way out of control - bedtime is non-existent; they eat what they want, when they want. So Brad's sister, Julie, allegedly took it upon herself to tell them to mind their p's and q's...and Angelina's fuming.

We may not be A-listers, but nothing polarises parents as fast as the realisation that your parenting styles are at odds. Contentious issues include diet, bedtime, manners and TV times.

Sound familiar? Whether it's you and your best friend, your parents, or your partner who are at loggerheads, here's how to soothe the situation and find some common ground...

You and your partner

Every parent wants what's best for their children. But what is 'best' is entirely up to an individual's interpretation. You don't – and won't - agree on everything, but you should support each other and show a unified front. So...

Don't argue in front of the kids

If you and your spouse find yourselves confronted with a new issue you have not previously talked about, it's ok to tell your child you're going to have a chat about this, make a decision and then get back to them.

Be consistent

Children need consistency and parents need to back each other up. Since your instincts regarding how you react to a situation may be different from your partner's instincts, you need to talk together and develop a parenting style that you both can agree on.

Develop listening skills and creative ways to compromise

You don't need to agree with each other all the time. Respecting the differences that you have will play a huge role in your understanding of how you are going to complement each other. Eventually, you will also find yourselves cooperating very well and working together for the betterment of your kids.


Instead of getting emotional about a situation, set your emotions aside and communicate with your spouse to find the best solution to a problem.

Keep in mind you're both working towards the same goal

Despite your differences, you both want what's best for the children. This wasn't the first conflict and it probably won't be the last. The next time you and your spouse lock horns over a parenting matter, remember to relax, be compassionate, and know that your kids need you both.

grandparentYou and the grandparents

When parenting and grandparenting styles clash, problems can quickly escalate – you may feel judged, while grandparents might feel as though their years of experience are being discarded.

Don't assume

Open communication enables you both to state expectations up front, especially when grandparents live nearby and offer regular babysitting. The first rule is to never assume retired grandparents can babysit. Ask if they are available so that resentment doesn't build.

Discuss your rules

Don't just assume your – or your partner's - parents know how you want your children to be taken care of. When grandparents aren't given a detailed plan, they revert to what they used to do when they were rearing kids - and that's often when problems arise.

Let the little things go

Be fair - backing up your rules doesn't eliminate the grandparents' right to spoil their grandkids. Children often watch more television, stays up later and get more treats at their grandparents' house – that's one of the best parts about being a grandparent!

Take generational differences into account

How our parents brought us up and how we rear our kids now are worlds apart due to the era and its corresponding societal expectations. The important thing to remember is that different is not necessarily bad. Remember that they are coming from a different reference point.

Ask their advice

However there are some aspects of parenting that just don't change. Tap into some of the perennial wisdom that grandparents have – after all, although you don't want it rubbed in your face, they have 'been there, done that' before.

Admit you're new at this

Parents often try to make it seem as though they have it all together, but talking about those troubles to the grandparents can trigger memories for them of how hard it actually was and help relieve tension.

friendsYou and your best friend

You love your friend, but are finding it hard to cope with her kids. Here's how to keep things friendly...

Step back

The only time you should get involved is if you've invited them to your house and they're endangering either themselves, your kids or your things. Otherwise, leave it to their parents.

Remain focused on the problem at hand

When handling an uncomfortable situation with other people's children, only address the behaviour occurring at that time. Don't use the opportunity to tell your friend how your method of discipline is best or how you teach your children manners.

Address upsetting situations quickly

Nothing can damage your friendship faster than unresolved bitterness. When you allow her children to come between you and don't resolve problems as they arise, you'll find yourself making excuses the next time she calls.

Decide what to overlook

Just as you do with your own children, choose your battles. If you learn to let certain behaviour go, you'll be much happier and less stressed the next time you and your friend get together.

Plan get-togethers at her house

You may have more control over what's acceptable at your house, but if you're getting together with the kids at home, do it at your friend's place. Then you can relax while her couches get jumped on or the carpets get soaked with juice.

Schedule some adult time

Make time for just you and your friend without any children. If your children are school age, plan to meet for lunch when they're gone for the day, or go out in the evening.

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