Have you taken the parenting style quiz?  If not, you can click here and take that.  Whether you’ve taken the quiz or not, you can probably see if there are 2 different parenting styles between you and your ex.  Maybe your ex is a Disneyland Mom or Dad whereas you’re the disciplinarian.  Maybe your ex is the disciplinarian and you think it’s too much for your kids.  Whatever the combination is, if you and your ex have different parenting styles, this post is for you.  

Though many parenting experts will tell you that the authoritative style shows the right amount of love and discipline, allows for the right amount of independence and parental control, and helps develop a self-sufficient, happy adult later in life; that doesn’t mean the other parenting styles don’t help develop this.  The other parenting styles help develop other aspects of your child’s personality.  

So how do you become comfortable with there being 2 different parenting styles?  The simple answer is: pick your battles.  The key is balance.  If you and your ex had the same parenting style, co-parenting would be a lot easier, but my guess is that because you are here reading this - you two have different ways of doing most things.  Balancing different ways of doing things can help develop a well-rounded adult later in life, but it will take some work to get your child there.  

You may hear a lot of, “Dad lets me do that” or “Mom has a different rule about this”.  As frustrated as you may be to hear those words - they’re a good thing!  It means you have open communication between you and your children and you can then continue the conversation. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with saying, “I created these expectations at my house because I know you can achieve them, because I know they will help you develop into a happy, independent adult, and because I believe they make our house run well.”  

I also don’t think there’s anything wrong with asking your kids what they believe the expectations should be, either.  Having an open discussion about why rules and expectations are what they are can help your child feel heard, can help them better understand where the expectations come from which, in turn, helps them to follow through more often.  Doing this doesn’t open the door to your children making the rules, it opens the door to communication.  

If your ex has a different parenting style and you two need to come together on something, where can you compromise?  It’s not all one way or another, so where is there available compromise? Is there somewhere you can give in to make your ex feel heard, knowing that overall compromise is better for the children? If not, is there a way to communicate your message in a way that helps your ex see where you’re coming from?  

Having two different parenting styles isn’t all bad for your children.  Knowing where your ex is can help you balance what you need to give your children the best chance at life.  

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Kaern Becker, MA Life Coach