Why You and Your Partner Can’t Get on the Same Page with Parenting
Before I became a stay-at-home mom, I worked as a child therapist and actually trained parents on how to parent their children. I was able to do this because I received a ton of great research-based training and experience in this area.
So you would think that any mom with this background would have a perfect, well-behaved kid, right?
But that’s not often the case…
Because aside from the fact that we, as mommies, can have bad days and can’t always be perfect, there’s still another factor that we don’t have complete control over…
The other parent or caregiver.
While I feel pretty confident in my parenting abilities, the thing I struggle with the most is getting on the same page with my husband on parenting. My Mister-Know-It-All husband, who surprisingly has old-school parenting views, likes to challenge me every step of the way. And with my background, it’s hard not to come across as a Miss-Know-It-All myself.
And I know that many other mommies struggle with this issue, too.
Parenting together can be especially difficult when you’re co-parenting after a divorce or separation.
But I’m here to help you figure out where you could be going wrong. So here are some reasons why you could be having trouble getting on the same page with parenting.
11 Reasons Why You and Your Partner Can’t Get on the Same Page with Parenting
1. You’re talking about parenting when you’re worked up.
When your child misbehaves or when you see your partner handling a parenting situation the wrong way, it can be easy to get worked up. And dealing with misbehavior can cause your partner to be on edge, too.
But when either of you isn’t calm, you’re setting yourself up for failure by trying to talk about parenting at that moment. So try to find time to talk about it later.
2. You’re talking about parenting techniques when your child is in the room.
Not only can this confuse your child, but it can also cause your child to test the boundaries more since he knows you two aren’t on the same page.
Furthermore, you don’t want to undermine your partner in front of your child. Not only does that make your partner look bad, but it could backfire on you and cause your child to resent you for how you talk about his mom/dad.
3. You have different parenting styles.
Sure, if one of you is the “strict” parent and the other person is the “fun, loving” parent, you may balance each other out. However, even though balance is good, it’s best for you each to be balanced on your own, rather than both of you operating at extremes.
4. You don’t have a plan.
Although you don’t want to straight up keep telling your partner what to do, you do need to talk about your thoughts and expectations. Not having a plan keeps the rules and expectations unspoken.
On the other hand, if you’re the one dictating the entire plan, this can backfire because your partner will feel as though he has no control. So it’s best to come up with a plan together.
5. You tend to tell your partner what he shouldn’t do.
Just like kids, your partner needs to know what you want him to do, not just what he shouldn’t do. Telling your partner about what he shouldn’t do without giving him ideas on what to do instead can cause him to avoid getting involved altogether. So try to avoid phrasing everything as “Don’t ____.”
6. You don’t acknowledge the things your partner is doing correctly enough.
Without acknowledging the good things your partner does, you come off as only talking about the wrong-doings. This can make you seem negative and naggy and will cause your partner to want to avoid talking about parenting altogether.
7. The environment is too stressful.
When your household is too stressful, everyone can be on edge.
As a result, your kid is less likely to respond well to your parenting strategies… You’re less likely to communicate calmly and effectively with your partner… And your partner is less likely to listen or communicate effectively with you. And both you and your partner are more likely to yell at your child when he misbehaves.
8. You’re not being consistent.
If your spouse or partner sees you being inconsistent with parenting strategies, or if you’re not being consistent with how you tell your partner to handle certain parenting situations, then he’s not going to trust your parenting advice. So consistency is key.
9. You and/or your partner haven’t read up on helpful parenting strategies.
If you’re both just pulling parenting strategies out of your butts, then you’re definitely not going to be on the same page with each other. And you won’t be on the same page with many parenting experts either.
So it’s a good idea to read through some trustworthy parenting resources. And if you can get your partner to read up on some parenting techniques too, even better.
If you’re looking for information on research-based parenting strategies, I have an affordable parenting course full of helpful strategies that you can check out here.
10. You’re not focused on nurturing your own relationship too.
If you’re not taking care of your relationship with your spouse or partner, then it might be difficult for you to set the stage to talk about parenting. Not taking care of your relationship can create more problems and stress. And as I mentioned earlier, you don’t want to approach parenting when you’re worked up or stressed.
11. You’re not recognizing when you need further help.
Sometimes getting on the same page with your spouse or partner is a deeper issue that goes beyond just parenting. If you’re having trouble communicating in other areas of your relationship, then it may be a good idea to seek couples counseling or another form of marriage support.
If you’re divorced or not struggling with other aspects of your relationship yet can’t get on the same page with parenting no matter what, taking parenting classes or working with a child therapist can help.
(I go over all of the strategies I used to train parents on in my course that I mentioned above, which you can check out here.)
If You’re Still Having Trouble Getting on the Same Page with Parenting…
Keep in mind that getting on the same page with parenting is a two-way street. You can only do so much to get your partner involved. The rest is up to him.
Sometimes it takes time for your partner to see that you know what you’re talking about and that what you’re doing is effective.
But by modeling good parenting yourself and tweaking the way you approach your partner, it can be enough to make a huge difference.
Although I was a therapist, I am not your therapist or your child’s therapist. Reading this post does not enter you into a client-therapist relationship with me. The content in this post is meant to be used as a general guideline and has not been individually tailored to the needs of you and your child. If you are in need of therapeutic services, please seek the support of a mental health counselor or behavior specialist.
References: My information comes from years of training on Applied Behavior Analysis, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and other evidence-based techniques. I also like to refer to Russell Barkley (Defiant Children) and Alan Kazdin (Parent Management Training).