Any parent knows that as beautiful as the journey of raising a child is, it's certainly not without conflict.
A recent survey of more than 100 YourTango Experts revealed that, from an expert standpoint, the topics parents most commonly fight with each other about are money, followed by parenting/discipline, domestic responsibilities and feeling neglected.
Here, our Experts have tackled 13 common parent-parent and parent-child conflicts. Read on for expert advice on how to manage and overcome disagreements about discipline, domesticity and 12 other common arguments:
1. Punishment. Whether young or old, children are always testing limits and playing one parent against the other. Avoid such conflict by sitting down together during a quiet time to establish six to eight key family rules that you then explain in a calm, affirmative manner to your kids. Expect them to repeatedly test whether you are serious about those rules, but respond by telling them firmly "you know what the rules are." —Morris Mann
2. Temper tantrums. Whether it is a toddler temper tantrum or an adolescent fit, your child's underlying message is that you are denying him what he wants. Dealing with tantrums can often cause one parent to feel guilty or sympathetic and give in, while the other parent gets defiant and angry.
What you need to do is balance sympathy with the educational message that life is full of frustrations because no one gets what they want all the time. Convey to your child the message that it is his/her own problem to overcome, but you will be there to help if he/she wants some advice. Remember that your child is entitled to get from you everything he needs, and a little of what he wants, too. —Morris Mann
3. Attention-demanding children. Working parents are often overwhelmed when they come home and immediately have to deal with attention-demanding children. Whichever parent gets home first is eager for the other parent to come home so the kids can be dumped on someone else. The best approach to this kind of situation is to teach your kids that you have a life of your own, and they are capable of doing things on their own. —Morris Mann
4. Mess. When parents try to get children to pick up their stuff around the house, they usually use one of two unproductive approaches—nagging the kids, or picking up after them. Instead, when items are not picked up, try "ransoming" the items by putting the items in a box the child can't access.
The child then has to do a small chore, like taking out the garbage or clearing the dinner table, befitting of the value of the item they want back. Keep collecting and ransoming items until your child understands that they have a responsibility to the larger community in which they live. —The Couples Institute
5. Miscommunication. A lot of tangled communication happens when your child expresses and "tests" out ideas and feelings quite different from your own. When your child says something that sets off alarm bells in your head, resist the natural impulse to point out the flaws in their thinking.
Ask a couple of questions before stating your reaction, but the effectiveness of your questions will depend on how curious and respectful you really are. Your child will know by the tone of your voice and your facial expressions, and if they don't feel like they are on the witness stand, there is a much better chance that they will listen to your viewpoints. —The Couples Institute
Want to learn more? Tune in now through September 18 for the YourTango Experts intensive event, Love After Kids, featuring all kinds of advice and insights from our experts about the unique challenges of coparenting in the digital age.
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