Couples are rarely identical in their approach to life. In most things compromise is required and this is especially true when it comes to raising children. While I have some thoughts on how to raise the kids my partner may have a very different view. That doesn’t make either of us wrong, it does mean we need to communicate and work as a team to take a balanced approach.
I am a stay at home mother while my husband works as a consultant and can sometimes have to stay late at the office. This means that I am the main parental presence in my kid’s life at the moment. If there were ways that I wanted to do things with the kids I could pretty much do what I want and he would have no way to stop me. He is gone for most of the day. Of course, I don’t do that. We discuss everything in detail and take a balanced approach. This means that sometimes during the day I allow my kids to do things that I don’t fully agree with but I know he does.
For example, he takes a stricter view than I do with many things. While I would be happy to let the kids play a little more he feels that it is important that they learn some small element of responsibility from a young age. I support this approach even when he is not around.
Another example is bedtime. I would like a quick bedtime procedure. After a full day with the kids, I am usually exhausted by 8.30. I would like nothing more than to have the kids in bed in five minutes, no-nonsense, done. Of course, because he doesn’t get to see the kids all day, bedtime is one of his highlights. He doesn’t get to see the kids that much throughout the day so having the opportunity to read them a bedtime story and kiss them good night always makes them happy. If the kids act up and try to run downstairs, I have no patience for it, I have seen this type of behavior too much already that day. He enjoys it, he will chase them all and put them back to bed. Bedtime with him can take two hours.
While it really frustrates me to see the kids staying up later than they should and being disobedient in this way, I take a step back. I use it as my quiet time and go to our room and read or watch something. I know this time matters and although I don’t like it I can see why it is really important to him.
Parenting is all about giving and taking. If you don’t have a balanced approach you will result in arguments with each other and the kids. Your children will start to favor one parent over another and wonder why the (perceived) mean one doesn’t like them as much. By discussing all matters in parenting first and then taking the same approach you both come out on top.
This is why if I ever give in and get the kids a little treat during the day, I let my husband know. I don’t want it always to be me who surprises the kids with treats. We keep a rough tab of the treats in our mind and now he knows he has the opportunity to give them a treat later in the week. That way there is no good cop, bad cop situation taking place. We are both perceived as being nice (most of the time). If you and your partner have opposing views on some aspects of parenting don’t let the kids see them, take a balanced compromised view instead.