What do I do when my partner and I are not on the same page with our parenting values, how do we raise our kids, how can we address behavioral issues?
In this episode, I’ll be tackling all those questions and helping you and your partner work as a team to create a united front. I’ll cover when and how to have conversations together (sneak peak: it’s the same advice I give parents about when to communicate with their child too). How to determine and define the values that are important to you, both individually and as a team. And how to create a family game plan, so everyone is one the same page on how these values will be carried out. This will be constantly evolving as your children grow, so it’s important to schedule regular check-ins to discuss what’s working and what’s not working in a way that makes you both feel seen, heard and valued.
2:24 WHAT DO I DO WHEN MY PARTNER AND I ARE NOT ON THE SAME PAGE WITH OUR PARENTING VALUES, HOW WE RAISE OUR KIDS, HOW WE HANDLE BEHAVIORAL ISSUES AND OVERALL HOW WE WORK AS A TEAM?
– It can be lonely and exhausting when we’re not on the same page as our parenting partner
– This is very common – you’re two people who were raised in different families and that shapes the way you become a parent
– How do you reconcile two individuals who have their own experiences being parented, who then come together to parent a child?
3:40 I’LL BE TALKING ABOUT WAYS TO MAKE THIS EASIER, WHY THIS IS SO CHALLENGING (PLUS WHY THAT IS OKAY)
– You can shift your mindset to increase your effectiveness at how you communicate with your partner
– This will help your partner understand where you’re coming from, you understand where they’re coming and allow you to resolve conflicts with each other in a way that is respectful and effective
4:12 COMMUNICATION IS A BEDROCK PIECE OF GETTING ON THE SAME PAGE WITH YOUR PARTNER IN PARENTING
– Effective communication doesn’t mean you need to always agree on everything, but you must be able to talk about things when you don’t agree
– How you can effectively communicate with your partner is similar to the way you can effectively communicate with your child
– Debrief so your child can process in cool, calm, connected moments, not in the heat of things
– Help you kid first feel connected, safe, regulated before you explain to them where you’re coming from
– This exact same process applies to our partners
– Have conversations after the tense moment, not in the middle when you are clashing
– It’s better to connect afterwards, regroup, debrief – go over what worked, what didn’t work, how did it make me feel, how did it make you feel, own what we think we could have done better, give grace to your partner
6:18 WHAT DO WE TALK ABOUT IN THESE CALM QUIET MOMENT
– What is my approach to parenting and what is yours? What is important to you individually and then what is important to you as a team so you can intentionally decide on your unique family values?
– Definite your terms and have a family game plan
– Distinguish between values and standards
– We may share a value, but my standard for how I imagine that value playing out may be different from yours—this can be a source of conflict
– I might share with my husband a value of respectful communication with our children
– In the heat of the moment, my standard for what that value looks like in practice may look different than what my husband’s looks like
– For example: I may think respectful communication is getting low, taking into account our son’s perceptions and preferences, but my husband may think respectful communication is him giving our son a heads up of what’s coming next
– He may think he’s being respectful, and I might watch what he is doing and think if feels disrespectful
– We need to be able to say to each other – What do these shared values look like for each of us and how do we see them playing out?
– This topic often comes up when we ask if we are sharing the load in parenting? Do our responsibilities feel even to one another?
– Am I picturing something different in my mind when I see how this value is played out? If so, we’re going to clash if we have different visions of how those values actually get enacted
– We want to be on the same page in how we see our values getting executed
9:13 HAVING OPEN LINES OF COMMUNICATION
– Can’t set it and forget it – this is a living, breathing thing that is ever changing
– Our kids change every day, so our approach to parenting has to evolve with that
– Regularly have check-ins with one another and plan ahead, review the week, what went well, what didn’t go well, where did I feel alone in my parenting, where did I feel unsupported?
– Giving everyone an opportunity to share their experience without judgment or defensiveness, in a safe, attuned way
– In that safe space is where you can troubleshoot
– Trust and respect your partner enough to talk about what didn’t work, what did work, what you want to see different, how you want to see that actually look different
– A benefit of this is that it helps organize your week too
– Have a weekly check in to say – what worked, what didn’t work, what can we do different next week
– Can be as simple as, let’s get up earlier in the morning so we aren’t as rushed
– Here you can talk about a division of responsibilities – determine your “always” responsibilities and what is passed back and forth
– Know your partners strengths and weakness – play to your strength to make a more effective team
– Give yourselves permission to tag team, so you have times to be the support vs times to be the primary parent
– The only way to figure this out is to actually talk about it and reassess together
12:50 HAVE A LOT OF COMPASSION FOR EACH OTHER
– Try to see things from your partner’s perspective as much as you can
– Know that we are two people are we’re always looking at parenting from two different angles
– Being attuned to your partner in parenting and paying attention to their affect, their bandwidth, their energy levels, their breaking points
– If you see your partner getting a little overwhelmed, it’s ok to step in
13:40 YOU DON’T ALWAYS NEED TO STEP IN WHEN YOU THINK YOUR PARTNER IS DOING SOMETHING “WRONG”
– A lot of people will see their partner doing something “wrong” or that they wouldn’t do and this makes them panic thinking he or she will “screw this up” and I need to rush in to rescue
– If the primary parent is always rushing in to fix and take over, it communicates to the child that the other parent can’t be relied upon to lead and maybe it isn’t as safe – this can increase anxiety for our kids
– Also, prevents the other parent from getting their hands dirty and using trial and error to figure out what does and doesn’t work
– As a new parent especially, you figure it out as you go – often times with infants it is the mother figuring this out and learning their baby’s rhythm
– As the mother steps back to let the partner in, there is an anxiety about letting your partner go back to step one and perhaps make the same mistakes we’ve now found solutions for
– In limiting your partner’s opportunities to figure it out on their own, you’re also limiting their opportunities to bond with their child
– It’s being able to struggle in learning how to best parent our kids that allows us this rich opportunity to feel very real with them and to get to a solution on our own
– Similar to building distress tolerance in kids as they play – once they figure out how to solve something, they have such satisfaction (if we solved the problem for them, they would have only been mildly enthused, but wouldn’t have the satisfaction of having figured it out themselves)
“That resilience building, that distress tolerance, that self satisfaction and connection with our intrinsic motivation is so powerful. We all deserve an opportunity to have that experience.”
16:49 YOU CAN USE SCAFFOLDING WITH YOUR PARTNER AS WELL AS WITH YOUR CHILDREN
– If another parent “rescues” their partner, it can take away the opportunity for that parent to figure it out on their own – and that moment of “I got it!” helps the parent bond with the child
– Allow your partner opportunities to fail and struggle without stepping in all the time
– They will develop a sense of ownership, investment and empowerment in their role as a parent
– If they ask for your help, you can come in and be supportive – do the least minimal level of intervention necessary to help them
– Scaffold – give them support without doing it for them – nudge them closer to the goal, so they can accomplish it on their own with your support
19:12 IT’S OKAY FOR PARENTS TO PARENT DIFFERENTLY
– Do we want to be wildly different in our approach to parenting? – No
– Do we want to have extremely different values when it comes to parenting our kids? – That will make it hard
– Each parent will have a different relationship with their kids
– Each parent’s approach to parenting doesn’t need to be exactly the same for your child to develop a secure, attuned and loving bond
– Not all relationships have to be identical to be secure – they can all be secure and look different
– Take comfort knowing we don’t need to parent exactly the same
– As long as your partner is able to meet your child’s needs most of the time in their own way and provide a feeling of safety for the child, it’s okay if it looks slightly different
“[Each parent’s] approach to parenting doesn’t need to be exactly the same in order for that child to develop a secure and loving and attuned relationship with that caregiver.”
20:35 IF YOU THINK THE WAY YOU PARENT IS THE BEST WAY, TRY MODELING IT FOR YOUR PARTNER
– When Sarah first learned about RIE (Resources for Infant Educarers), she would come home and gush to her husband about all the things she was learning
– He told her one day that he hated it when she talked to him about RIE
– All he was hearing was her telling him all the ways that he was parenting “wrong”
– This was a lightbulb moment for Sarah – she realized she was inadvertently shoving it down his throat
– Just show up and parent in the way that feels most aligned and effective to you – without lecturing and critiquing
– How do I present this to my partner in a way that feels empowering to them and invited by them?
– Are there other ways to present this that aren’t verbal? Like, just showing up and doing it.
– Now, Sarah’s husband is a full on “RIE Dad” because he’s watched how well respectful parenting has worked
– Understanding the neurobiology and how to help a child regulate their nervous system through coregulation, using your own nervous system has helped Sarah’s husband
– It’s because he saw it work, not because Sarah told him to do it
– The less she told him, the more he could sit and not be defensive around it because he wasn’t hearing critiques of his own parenting
– Sarah’s husband observed her respond in a way that was coregulatory and saw how quickly it helped their kids
– Modeling and living these parenting principles is more valuable and easier to receive for a partner than being lectured and critiqued
“Nobody wants unsolicited parenting advice, not even your partner in parenting!”
25:08 KEEP THESE THOUGHTS IN MIND WHEN IT COMES TO GETTING ON THE SAME PAGE AS YOUR PARENTING PARTNER
– Identify your values and communicate them
– Make sure your standards for how those values get executed are aligned, are similar, and are in the same orbit
– Trust and respect that your partner has their own way of doing things and have compassion for that (recognizing that each parent has to approach parenting with some level of agency and autonomy so they can develop their own bond with their child)
– Allow them to get their own wins
– If you have divergent parenting strategies, give your partner room to experience the way you do it without making them feel suffocated, lectured or critiqued – allowing them the space to see it either work or not work
“Real partnership is when we can lean on each other. When one person doesn’t always have to have it right, or have it perfect or have it all together all the time. Because we’re human – we can’t have it altogether all the time.”
26:44 FORMING A REAL PARTNERSHIP
– When Sarah is not able to be the strong anchor for her kids, her husband is able to step in
– It’s about being able to lean on each other
– We’re human we can’t get it right all the time
– Take turns driving the wheel and holding the reigns – I can sit back every once in a while and so can my partner
– We’re a partnership, a team and we’re doing this together – nobody is the boss and nobody is the teacher
– We all bring something to the table and the more we can give each other space, respect, and autonomy – the more our kids will have a rich relationship with both of us and a strong family
27:54 THIS ISN’T EASY, IT ISN’T SIMPLE, IT CAN BE MESSY, BUT IT CAN ALSO BE BEAUTIFUL
– Having a partner you trust and who trusts you is a wonderful thing in this journey of parenthood
28:15 I WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!
– How have you dealt with this issue in your own relationship? What have your biggest pain points been? Have you panicked when your partner parented in a way that you felt was “wrong”?
– Comment or DM me on Instagram @securelyattachedpodcast
– You can go to @drsarahbren on Instagram to read even more physiologically informed and research backed information to help you on your parenting journey
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