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Every parent has a set of ideals and standards they want to teach their children to live by.
The parenting ideas that each mother and father have for their children are always good natured but rarely do they completely align with one another.
This can cause problems within a marriage, because rarely do these dreams and desires for children arise in conversations between couples until there is already a child in the family and disagreements take place.
This problem is very common.
It’s no surprise that most couples with children go through this battle. Every couple end up fighting about kids at some point. Each person has a unique personality.
A wife’s husband is not their same person as their wife, and vice versa.
For example, my husband and I grew up with parents who had different parenting styles. One was not better than the other, just different. However, this has caused us to have arguments about how to raise our son. These were small disagreements but they caused some marital strife because we weren’t mentally equipped to resolve them.
It took time and effort to learn how to handle our differences and still to this day we argue about how to parent. For us, communicating on how to parent is constant because of everyday hurdles to overcome.
With children and parenting, there is no way that two parents can agree to disagree.
Parent’s need to be on the same team. It is not healthy for a child to have one parent be authoritarian, and the other to be permissive. Couples have to work together so that kids know that what mom and dad say go. When mothers and fathers work as a team, the whole family benefits. Parenting, like marriage, is a partnership. Being able to compromise and work out a solution is crucial with any family.
This is hard when a parent has to compromise on how to raise their children. Especially when children are great at making their parents feel guilty. Children know how to pull on their parent’s heartstrings. They call their parents mean, or tell their mom or dad that they don’t feel understood.
Worse yet, kids sometimes will act inappropriately to a point where a parent feels as if they failed them. Either way moms and dads around the world are left feeling as if they are either too strict or not strict enough.
Parent’s don’t want their child to feel like their feelings are not being heard, but they also don’t want their child to feel as if they can get by with anything. No matter what, parents don’t seem to win. It’s hard to find that point of perfection (Maybe because it’s nonexistent.).
It’s important for couples who are going through these troubles to remember why they got married, and that their relationship comes first.
If two parents work to communicate and compromise with one another and put their relationship first, not only will they be happier but their children will benefit from their happiness.
The bible mentions many things about love, but this is my favorite. It’s relevant to any love relationship, but it’s especially important for married couples. The love that God describes in this bible passage is what I’d like to call ideal love.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.- 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
I know that marriage is hard.
Adding kids to the mix makes it even harder. Luckily our love for our spouse and for our children makes it worth every hardship to have these precious people in our life. Our greatest blessing from God is marriage and family. In order for parents to work out their differences, both must be willing to be patient and kind.
Their is no room for stubbornness, irritability, or resentfulness. Spouses must always be joyful when their partner speaks to them about how they truly feel. Married couples must endure all hardships together in order to come out surviving.
God gives us an amazing gift when he gives us our spouse and children. When spouses come first, children immediately benefit. I understand that someone’s its hard to compromise on what is truly believed to be the best for a child, especially for a mother. A mother’s love for their child is like no other. It is painful at times but also worth it and rewarding.
A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. – John 16:21
This bible passage is not only true in terms of giving birth but it applies to motherhood in it’s entirety. Mothers want what’s best for their children. What mothers need to be careful of is that they don’t negatively impact their marriage because of being worried about being the perfect for their little ones. This is hard to hear, but Jesus was and is the only perfect human that roamed this Earth, and he never said that anyone besides him was going to live without flaw. God still gave mothers the gift of children despite their imperfections. He also gave all humanity the gift of marriage and wants nothing to come in between a man and wife.
“Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”- Mark 10:9
Many couples allow children to get in the way of their marriage. I’ve been guilty of that myself. But I’ve come to terms with not being the perfect parent after being tired of feeling guilty for not only the way I was acting towards my husband but also the guilt I was experiencing when I made any little mistake. It became exhausting.
All that really matters in a marriage is that both parties openly communicate with one another. There should be no problem with compromising with one another as long as neither party feels that abuse or neglect is the answer to being a good parent.
Here are some good steps to take for couples who are learning to compromise in terms of parenting:
1. The first step for two parents to take if they want to compromise with one another is to not involve the children.
I’ve been guilty myself of doing this. This is the hardest part of learning to compromise with one another! It’s so easy to play the blame game, especially when emotions are running high and communicate. “Daddy shouldn’t have done that” or “Mommy doesn’t need to do _______.” are not words that children should hear. Kids should not get involved in arguments. Discussing these matters should happen in during private time between parents. If kids see their parents disagree, they will use it as a loophole to get by with things.
2. A person may be forced to give into one certain way if it’s more important to their spouse.
For example, I grew up going to church every week. That something that is very important to me. My husband is also Christian, but not as avid of a church goer. He goes more often for us and also never forces me to leave our son at home even though he doesn’t feel it’s necessary to go every week.
Another example would be in terms of Izaak’s daily routine. I used to be a real stickler, but I settled down because my husband’s parenting style was a little more laid back. Izaak overall goes to bed around the same time and eats at a decent time but I’ve allowed myself to become more lenient for my family’s sake.
It seems to work better for all of us and is actually less stressful then trying to keep the same routine every day. It also allows us to be more flexible with what we can and can’t do daily. I’m glad I allowed myself to become more laid-back. I needed to.
3. If there are deeper problems that neither parent can agree on things can get a little more complicated.
It’s important for these couples to remember that one-sided parenting never works. If a parent is too authoritarian, they may not be empathetic enough with their children and this may cause behavior issues and rebellion.
If parents are too passive, their kids will more than likely lack direction and will behave in whatever way they see fit. This is why it is actually good to have one parent who is passive and one who is more authoritarian. Compromises will need to be made and a healthy middle ground will more than likely be reached. It will take a lot of work but once these hard disagreements are settled the results will be well worth it.
4. Be ready to change for the sake of your family.
What I’ve really noticed in our relationship is that over the years we’ve both kind-of learned to change our styles. Both Cody and I have relaxed and accepted that there are some circumstances where it’s ok to be passive and others it is necessary to hold our ground. If Izaak is endangering himself, disrespecting us as parents or has repeated bad behavior we discipline him. But if he just has a bad day or maybe has trouble focusing on something we are patient with him.
He’s a kid. And if full grown adults can’t be perfect then how can kids be? What is important is that we try to compromise and work as a team . By doing so we have realized that our way isn’t always the best way. Two brains are better than one.
Parents who work and communicate as a team are successful because their children know what mom and dad says goes. Parents who communicate better not only to themselves but with their children are also more understanding not only towards their children’s imperfections but their spouses.
Everyone makes mistakes and losses their cool now and then. Being there for one another as a family other makes all of the difference.
Do you have some parenting tricks to share, or stories that involve you and your spouse compromising with one another? Share them below!
-Holly, the imperfect momma.