Parenting Differences Between Partners: Finding Common Ground

Posted October 30, 2015 by

Parenting Differences Between Partners: Finding Common Ground

Upon reviewing last month’s credit card statement, you nearly have a heart attack.

Clothes, video games, electronics…all charged to your account. You realize it wasn’t you who made the purchases…it was your child.

After a few deep breaths, you explain your discovery to your husband. Furious, he insists on teaching your son a lesson by taking away all his privileges – for a very long time.

“We can’t let him get away with this – he has to learn to grow up! Stop being so easy on him!”

You disagree, knowing that extreme consequences won’t fix the problem.

How can you get on the same page and parent as a team?

Disagreeing with your partner can be heart-wrenching. You both want the best for your child, yet coming together as a team feels like a problem in and of itself. We hear from many parents in this position. When two people grow up in different families with different values, they’re bound to disagree!

If you find yourself in a parenting disagreement, take some time to discuss where you do agree – your common ground.

The same goes for disagreements with a sister, grandparent, in-law, etc. Anyone working together to raise kids are bound to have differing opinions, but the end goal is the same: to prepare your child to be a successful adult.

In this example, the parents may agree that stealing is not okay and needs to be addressed. As an extra precaution, they may agree to hide their valuables to prevent future theft.

In some cases, you may have to agree to disagree, find some sort of compromise or let one of you take the lead this time – and that’s okay. In the end, it isn’t about being “right” or “wrong.” It’s about trying to figure out the next step together.

Have additional questions? Check out When Parents Disagree: 10 Ways to Parent as a Team.

Stay strong – we’re here to help support and guide you!

Talk soon,

Denise R., Empowering Parents Coach
Learn more about 1-on-1 Coaching

“Understand that every time you argue with your partner over parenting, the focus shifts away from your child. Rather than teaching your child how to behave and problem solve, the focus becomes parent against parent.” – Debbie Pinus, creator of The Calm Parent AM & PM

About

Denise Rowden is a parent of two teens: an 18-year-old daughter and a 19-year-old son. She has worked in Special Education, Alternative Education and adolescent group homes. She has a BS in Psychology from the University of Southern Maine and is currently working on her Life Coach certification from the International Coach Federation.

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  1. Alice Marie Report

    Personally, I would make him return everything he bought.  My husband would, too.  I’m glad about this.  Our disagreement is homework environment.  I say no TV, no radio, etc. while doing homework because our son has ADHD, and EVERYTHING distracts him, even on medication.  My husband thinks it’s okay for him to have background noise. Well, he received 4 D’s this card marking.  My husband also thinks it’s okay for our son to have Red dye 40 and Pepsi (regular kind).  His pediatrician said, “Absolutely NO.”  These battles are never ending.  It makes me sick.  My husband refuses to compromise on such issues as well as a few other big ones.  I have no stamina or ability to deal with my husband or my son.  I feel burned out, angry, depressed, and always stressed.  I don’t know how to fix this.

    Reply
    • rwolfenden Report

      Alice Marie I hear you.  It can be so challenging when you are experiencing almost constant conflict with not only your child, but your husband as well.  It’s understandable that you would feel as you described, given the situation.  If you are having difficulty coming to an agreement with your husband and compromising on homework and other big issues, it could be useful to involve a neutral third-party, such as a marriage/family counselor, to help you develop a plan moving forward.  If this is something you might consider, try contacting the http://www.211.org at 1-800-273-6222.  211 is a service which connects people to resources available in their community.  I recognize how difficult this must be for you right now, and I hope that you will write back and let us know how things are going for you and your family.  Take care.

      Reply
  2. Mother Hubbard Report

    Bring back national service. Make voluntary work part of the curriculum. Have children stand when a teacher or other adult enters a classroom. instill manners from an early age. Set boundaries…. Then what? Unfortunately it seems the line between children and adults has become so blurred that no one knows their role. We seem to have relinquished “control” to the detriment of the family and the society iin which we live.

    Reply
  3. Fatcatpat Report

    What happened to the good old days when children feared consequences ! We all have given these kids too much power over our lives. I have and it’s a struggle to get it back. Things get better and they are. I’m done feeling guilty for the things I don’t give my kids. Remember these are the people that will be making decisions for all of us in the future. Bad behavior has a consequence and these kids need to realize it.

    Reply
  4. Jones Report

    My fiance and I, along with her two young adult children, live together. My fiance continues to do almost every thing for them, as if they are little kids. I don’t like seeing this and I usually ignore it, bu,t can’t always bite my tongue. When I tell her she’s not helping them, but, enabling them; she does not respond to me and continues to do almost every thing for them. She’s also fine with the oldest, 21, not doing anything productive around the house, which I have issues with. Not sure what to do anymore about these issues.

    Mr. Advice Needed

    Reply
    • Alice Marie Report

      @Jones  This enabling behavior will only stop if SHE decides to do so.  Obviously she thinks it’s fine.  Sorry and best wishes.

      Reply
  5. Blindsided Report

    This is so true. My son while visiting his dad took his stepmom car, he’s 15. The law caught him and now he’ll have to go to court. But in the meantime the stepmom is charging my son which his dad agrees on, auto theft. Now after finding one he doesn’t want me to hire a lawyer due to he wants him to learn a lesson. My x has a passive aggressive personality. This is a father himself as a kid took a joy ride w/friends under age and crashed into a tree. Smoked at the age of 11 on. And as an adult had psychically hurt me in front u my kids along w/name calling !!
    Even in his adult life he crashed a fire truck into a bus stop. He himself could of injured someone. But the city gave him a second chance. I just don’t understand and feel alone, confused, depressed & more. We were divorced 4 months & he had already proposed to his new wife.  Plus she’s 12yrs older than him. He had 4 children together & married 15years & he states to my kids. He was never happy being married to me. I feel helpless!

    Reply
  6. Jungle Jen Report

    It’s like the few comments I have read are people living my life. I finally feel like I’m not alone dealing with Aspergers and my 12 year old son as a single mother. Everyone in my life has advice! They don’t know what I am dealing with and how I went from a successful young woman to a depressed 50 year old woman that lives day to day with this illness. I love reading everyone’s stories. I finally do not feel so alone. Thank you.

    Reply
    • christy34 Report

      Me too I’m a single parent the only daily help I get is my dad and he can only help when he can my son has autistic adhd and opasitional defiance disorder and its very hard on me when saying no to my son expecially when it comes to toys he wants he’s 12 but mentality wise he’s younger does anyone know other ways I can try to Iredirect him

      Reply
      • CAROLANNINSILVERLAKE Report

        christy34  MY SON ALSO HAS ODD..AND ADHD…HE WANTS THINGS EVERYDAY…HE IS RELENTLES IN HIS PURSUIT AS WELL…HE WILL BOTHER ME FOR HOURS DAYS WEEKS FOR STUFF TILL I GIVE IN…HE GETS OBSESSED WITH THINGS TO AND THEN IS OVER THEM IN A MONTH… ITS SO HARD I DONT EVEN KNOW WHAT TO SAY BECAUSE I TAKE THINGS AWAY AND IT DOES NOT CHANGE HIS BEHAVIOUR

        Reply
        • christy34 Report

          It’s the oppositional defiant disorder that is hard for me the most but there is no medication for that but I’m trying the best I can .

          Reply
  7. A Mom Of Two Report

    Try giving points and at the end of week they can stay up late or whatever you decide. Has to be 5 points one for each school day. Want them to learn, plus find something positve that they are doing even if it’s small. Blessings

    Reply
  8. Loves her 3 boys Report

    My 22 year old son has borrowed money he promised to pay back after selling his truck. He put the money he borrowed down a car since truck was acting up. I really believed him and need ideas to get money back. I had plans for a family vacation with the money he has not repaid.

    Reply
    • Empowering Parents Coach drowden Report

      @Loves her 3 boys
      What a tough situation. Many parents of adult children
      have found themselves in similar circumstances after loaning their child money.
      It can be distressing when you loan someone money and they don’t pay you back.
      This is true regardless of your relationship with the person you’ve loaned
      money to. There can be an additional layer of betrayal when it’s someone you
      love though. Because your son is an adult, there may not be anything you can do
      to motivate him to follow through and pay you back like he promised.
       There really isn’t any way of holding him accountable the same as you
      might a minor child. It may be necessary to take the legal route by filing a
      small claims case. You might consider talking with legal counsel to see if this
      is possible. The 211 Helpline can give you information on legal services in
      your area. You can reach the Helpline 24 hours a day by calling 1-800-273-6222
      or by visiting them online at http://www.211.org/. Good
      luck to you as your work through this challenging situation. Take care

      Reply
      • beenthrualot2 Report

        I would just keep saying “I know you will pay me back as soon as you can” “I hope my loan to you really helped you.” As for vacation money you must make do with what you do have.Sit down when not angry with him and ask if he wants to make a payback plan with you to help him meet his goal.

        Reply
    • Mother Hubbard Report

      @Loves her 3 boys judge Judy always says to those kind people whom lend money to friends or family…. Don’t exoect it back. Just give them the money and forget about iit, or don’t agree to give iit in the first place! I agree with her, which has made it easier in my case. If I can, and agree to giving the money, I say goodbye to it.

      Reply
  9. Diaine Report

    I am a single parent. My biggest problem is my own Mom and Dad and sisters. They do not live in the same state and do not see what I go through with my son. They tend to blame me and the fact that I did not stay married. I am a great single parent but find it hard to deal with family that talks about me behind my back to my son. Their negative messages fuel his fire of disrespect and anger toward me. My son’s father was very wealthy and I left him because of abuse and now speak to other women about this subject and I tell them all the time that it is not their fault. I tell them they must stay safe. My parents think there is something wrong with me that I would leave such a wealthy man and they look down on me as I struggle to raise my son on my own. I have stopped inviting them to dinner when they are in Arizona for the Winter Season. They constantly belittle me in front of my son when they are here but I did not do it soon enough so the words they spoke are in his head. My sisters say cruel things to me as well. My friends call me the blonde angel and my own sisters never even call me or care anything about me. They are focused entirely on money in their lives. It’s hard to raise a child with absolutely no support system.

    Reply
    • CAROLANNINSILVERLAKE Report

      @Diaine 
      HI DIAINE
      YOUR STORY IS SIMILAR TO MINE.I HAVE RAISED MY 14 YEAR OLD ADHD SON SINCE DAY ONE, BY MYSELF. I DONT SPEAK TO MY SISTER BECAUSE OF HER BAD MOUTHING ME TO MY SON. SHE EVEN TOLD HIM I WANTED TO HAVE AN ABORTION WITH HIM AND THAT SHE TALKED ME OUT OF IT BECAUSE SHE WANTED HIM. ( SHE COULDNT GET PREGNANT) ALL LIES. JUST TO MAKE HER LOOK GOOD. ANYWAY THE BEST ADVISE I COULD GIVE IS EXPLAIN TO YOUR SON WHY THEY ARE ACTING LIKE THAT AND THEN DO NOT SPEAK TO THEM ANYMORE. EXPLAIN TO THEM THEY ARE DAMAGING YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR SON AND YOU WONT STAND FOR THAT. THAT IS ALSO ABUSE. DONT TOLORATE THAT!!!!!! YOU AND YOUR SON CAN REPAIR THE DAMAGE THEY HAVE DONE…DONT WORRY BE POSITIVE.. PROJECT LOVE ALWAYS, BE GRATEFUL EVERYDAY!!! THIS WILL BRING YOU TO TRUE HAPPINESS EVEN WHEN YOU ONLY HAVE A ROOF OVER YOUR HEAD…TRUST ME, I KNOW. LIVING WITH ADHD IS STRESSFULL, BUT YOU CAN STILL BE HAPPY. I HOPE YOU MEET A NICE MAN TO LOVE YOU UNCONDITIONALLY. I FINALLY DID, AFTER 10 YEARS OF BEING ALONE.. BLESS YOU..

      Reply
  10. eugenia.dillard Report

    I am the guardian of my nephew.  He is 13 and has a smart mouth.  My son is 44 so I’ve been out of the picture for a while, and now I am having problems with consistency with my nephew.  Recently he received his report card which states that he has late assignments and missing assignments.  He tells me he has done his homework.  I work full time and attend school, help out with my mother who is 81, and a granddaughter in college.  I tend to get very stressed with him and say things I end up taking back.  He doesn’t take me serious.  I talk to others who have raised children and sometimes I get confused as to if I’m doing things right or not.  Right now, I want him to go home to his mother and I know he doesn’t want to go, but I’m tired of talking to him.   All he has to do is keep his room clean and do his homework.  He’s not a bad child; he’s more like 13 going on 39.Tomorrow is PTC so I’m not talking to him right now.  I’m waiting until I talk to his teachers.  The only weapon I have right now is taking away the electronics. I’m just tired of trying to do this thing right.  Any suggestions…..

    Reply
    • dbeaulieu Report

      Eugie61 

      I can hear your frustration. It
      is not easy to do the whole parenting thing again after you have already raised
      your children. I think it is going to be important to decide if you want to
      commit to it or not. If you want to hang in there and see him through to
      adulthood, I would make the decision to do that even if it gets hard sometimes.
      If you want him to go back to his mom’s, he can probably sense that and that
      could hinder his progress. Either way, the best way to get him back on track
      for school is to establish a daily homework and study time for the courses he
      is doing poorly in. Once he puts in the time and does his homework, he earns
      his electronics for the day. If he says he does not have homework or he refuses
      to study, he does not earn his electronic that day, but he can try again
      tomorrow. We also recommend not using electronics as a consequence for any
      other behavior than this one until his grades are where they need to be. If he
      has a smart mouth, do your best to not react to him and walk away. Ignoring the
      behavior takes the power and attention away from it. A couple of articles you
      may find helpful for your situation are: http://www.empoweringparents.com/how-can-you-make-your-child-do-it.php and http://www.empoweringparents.com/Teenagers-Talking-Back-How-to-Manage-It-Effectively.php We appreciate you
      writing in. Good luck to you as you continue to work through this.

      Reply
  11. Ruksar Report

    Thank you so much for all this information.  This is incredible and so much needed as I have been struggling lately.  I am only sorry that I did not find you sooner but now that I have I am truly grateful.  The information is precious and sincerely valued with all my heart.  Thank you so much for coming to my rescue.

    Roxanne

    Reply

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