Creative Child

7 Questions to Unite Parents

by Rebecca Eanes

It is not uncommon for parents to bring different views on childrearing to the table. You were, after all, raised in different environments and have completely different stories which define your beliefs and attitudes about what it means to be a parent and what that role entails. Sometimes these contrasting views can drive a wedge in relationships and lead to whole host of problems within the home.

Problem #1: Resentment – Unfortunately, you may begin to resent your parenting partner with whom you just don’t see eye to eye. Perhaps you view him as stubborn and unwilling to accept new information, or maybe your problem with her is that you feel she is too lenient or coddling. If left unchecked, negative feelings can fester and become resentment, and this will change the dynamic of your relationship and affect the atmosphere of your home.

Problem #2: Criticism – Those feelings of frustration and resentment often make their way out of mouths in the form of criticism which, according to relationship expert Dr. John Gottman, is one of the biggest relationship killers.

Problem #3: Inconsistency – When parents follow different rules, the kids don’t know which parent to follow. This can be very confusing and anxiety-producing for some children. Kids are also very smart, and older children will learn to play this to their advantage.


The good news, of course, is that even if you’re parenting a teenager, there is still time to make a positive change. If both partners are willing, you can lay your differences aside and join together to create a shared vision for your family. Here’s what you’ll need to bring to begin.

  1. Pencils and 14 strips of paper.
  2. Respect. In order to have a successful conversation, you must leave out judgement, blame, shame, guilt, and criticism. Those emotions keep us stuck and wall us off. Aim for understanding. Why does your partner have these beliefs? What’s the story behind it? How might you feel if you’d grown up in their shoes?
  3. Empathy. Try to understand and empathize with your partner’s perspective. From this place of understanding, you can finally move toward a resolution.
  4. A list of admiral qualities. Even if this list is just in your head, be mindful of the things that once drew you to your partner. Have you been overlooking the good qualities whilst you’ve been so focused on the bad ones?

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