By Deanne Atkinson
Motherhood. Fatherhood. Parenthood. A journey of the unknown where anything is possible. Fatigue is probable. Changes will come at a pace you didn’t know possible and as you navigate yourself through each stage of your child’s growth you might get a little distracted and the cost can come as a surprise. One thing that might pop up and rear its head is challenges in your relationship and having very different ideas from each other when it comes to parenting.
For some it can come as a shock. Your partner doesn’t have the same beliefs and strategies in their approach with the kids. You start to disagree; you start to feel angry, frustrated or pull away from your partner especially if you both have a tendency to be set in your ways. The littlest issue can cause a rift let alone the big issues which need to be addressed when it comes to raising children.
“He doesn’t support me.”
“She undermines me.”
“She tries to control me like I’m the child.”
“He overpowers me when it comes to the kids.”
I have heard many statements similar to these. Whatever the issue it has a negative effect on the relationship and, sadly, home life is no longer a happy place.
Let’s break a few things down. We come together with our own issues, beliefs, habits, personalities and tendencies. With both partners carrying their own baggage this can play out in our parenting. What we believe is right or wrong, what values we have or don’t have; often this is where partners can clash when making decisions about their children.
Ideally sitting down and finding some similar values to base parenting on is a great exercise in moving forward but also highlighting where some of the issues might be stemming from.
If one partner doesn’t believe in treating the children from a place of equality and they “should be seen and not heard” and the other partner believes children deserve the right to be treated as equals there will be plenty of problems arising and the relationship will be challenged. Another example is if one partner believes in building independence in children and the other believes you should “let them be kids” and pick up after them etc then more trouble will be on the horizon.
By starting with some values when it comes to parenting you can use them to guide you and stay on track to parent together rather than against each other.
Some values I apply in my own home include equality, honesty, accountability, non judgement and the right to make a choice. These are used as a benchmark to check in not only with our own behaviour but as parents in making decisions for our children. Having the same values make decision making easier and, if we don’t agree, referring back to the values will highlight what the issue is. Ideally, before starting a family, values are important to talk about and put in place but it is never too late to introduce them.
A great exercise for new parents is to sit down and discuss some of the obvious issues around having a child. Go beyond the choices around birth and start expressing your thoughts around health, school and the needs of a growing child.
For those with established families children respond positively to values. My children know to “speak their truth” as being honest has been a common topic under our roof. When challenged outside of the house to be dishonest it doesn’t feel right for them because they have grown up with the value of honesty.
Communication between parents without being defensive or stubborn is a must. If you withdraw your energy when your partner challenges the way you parent try to address the issue instead; And if your default is you overpower your partner take a step back and give each other equal rights to express and feel heard. Having a set of values can help identify where changes are needed. Old belief systems can also cause issues with parenting and if we have a value such as equality it can help change old beliefs which may contradict this.
It is natural for a relationship to have its ups and downs but it is most important to parent from a similar place. Both parents can parent in their own individual way but if you are both coming from the same set of values, their decisions and choices will feel easier to navigate through. Parenting from a set of values will help you both feel like you are supporting each other as a team.
Deanne Atkinson is the Founder of Parent with Passion and has a spiritual approach to parenting. Her Self Awareness Parenting Programs have become very popular for those who want to grow in their role as a parent. Deanne also offers private consultations including Mediumship Readings, Spiritual Parenting and Counselling and Hahnemann Healing.
For support head over to www.parentwithpassion.com