What If You Have Different Parenting Styles?


What If You Have Different Parenting Styles?
Everyone parents differently, and it can take some time to get used to it. Read more for help.

by Amy Hoglund, for

How parents can work together better, even if they disagree

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You both want the best for your child. There’s only one problem; actually agreeing on what the “best” is.

What one parent could think is a great idea; the other may view differently. This is normal -- a lot of parents butt heads on the “right” way to raise their kids. There are all kids of parenting styles; you’re not going to agree on everything, but how can you solve this conflict and meet in the middle?

Frankly, it's rare for a mom and dad to parent similarly says Fran Walfish, PsyD., child and family psychotherapist and author in Beverly Hills.

"To be a good parent each mom and dad must be comfortable doing two things at the same time - nurture/love and setting/following-through on boundaries and limits. If one parent does one thing and the other parent does another, you are each only doing half of your full job,” Dr. Walfish says.


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Take Nancy for example. She experiences this often with her husband but they work through it.

“My husband and I have different parenting styles. For the small things, I let the differences ride," Nancy explains. "The kids can seem to handle the differences. Anything that seems to cause stress in the family then we have a family meeting and discuss as a family how we want to handle certain situations. We then come up with a family solution, and as a family we monitor how it is working. It resolves the tension.”

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The main obstacle is coming up with an agreement and working from there. Here is Dr. Walfish advises to parents.


  • Take an honest, painful look within and identify your own parenting style.
  • Have an open dialogue with your spouse by owning your personal parenting style and asking him to do the same.
  • Articulate the values, morals, and behaviors you want to impart to your children. Listen to your spouse articulate hers.
  • Agree that you both need to make adjustments in the best interests of the children.
  • Try your best to come to a modification pact in which both you and your spouse change what you do so that you are both closer to center.
  • If you can't come to a comfortable agreement seek consultation with a counselor, therapist, priest, rabbi, teacher, or friend.

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