Tips for Parenting as a Team

Do you and your partner disagree on parenting a lot? Find out how to get on the same page with these expert tips.
ByElena Donovan Mauer
Updated
Oct 2019

Every couple is going to clash on a few of the millions of decisions they need to make together once baby arrives. “There’s no one right way to do almost anything as a parent,” says Shoshana Bennett, PhD, a clinical psychologist specializing in family issues. “It’s really important to respect each other’s ideas. That doesn’t mean you have to agree, but you should avoid being critical.” Try these tips next time you’re having trouble seeing eye to eye on a particular parenting issue:

Ask, “Is this a big deal?”

If you disagree on something little, like how to dress baby or whether to bathe him or her in the sink or the tub, it’s not worth a fight. “When it comes to a huge safety or health issue, then it’s important to discuss it,” Bennett says, “but arguments between parents typically aren’t about whether to put a seatbelt on your kids. They’re more about parenting style.” So when dealing with those smaller, non-essential decisions see if you can each take turns—this time your partner will have the final say, and the next time it will be your turn, or vice versa.

Stay calm and listen

Don’t flip out as soon as you hear your partner’s take. React as calmly as you can—even if it’s not at all the response you wanted to hear. Then consider the situation you’re currently in when the topic comes up—if it’s 2 a.m, baby’s screaming, and neither of you have slept for hours, table the discussion for daylight hours when you feel sane enough to have a civil conversation. Then, when you’re ready ‘ask why?’. You might find your partner has a good reason for his stance and it can help you understand things better—or even make one of you more willing to give in.

Related Video

Give your partner equal footing

Accept that your partner has a different style than you do, like he lets baby play independently (while supervised) and you like to play along with baby. Bennett says it’s actually good for babies to be exposed to different people who speak in different intonations, point out different things to baby and involve baby in different activities—all this variety helps baby developmentally.

Start fresh

Most of us swear we’re going to raise our kids differently when we become parents. Then we become parents…our parents! Why not focus on the fact that you’re a new family, and develop new ways to interact together and start new traditions together? It can help if you come at a decision from a clean slate.

Plus, more from The Bump:

 

 

The Heartwarming Reason Why This Dad Constantly Cleans His Wedding Ring

Stephanie Grassullo
Associate Editor
Published
12/07/2018

Treating Dad Like a Babysitter Is a Lose-Lose for Both Parents

Stephanie Grassullo
Associate Editor
Published
01/24/2019

Pat Dad on the Back for Being a Good Parent, but Remember to Tell Mom Too

Stephanie Grassullo
Associate Editor
Published
02/08/2019

5 Amazing, Inspiring Dads

Elena Donovan Mauer

Women’s Unpaid Labor Is Globally Worth $10.9 Trillion, Report Says

Nehal Aggarwal
Associate Editor
Published
03/06/2020

Dad Nails Advice on How Partners Can Support Breastfeeding Moms

Laurie Ulster
Contributing Writer
Published
09/16/2019

Does Your State Support Working Dads?

Anisa Arsenault
Associate Editor

Women Are Judged More Than Men for Having a Messy House, Study Shows

Stephanie Grassullo
Associate Editor
Published
06/11/2019

Dad Has No Idea He Ran Over His Toddler

Anisa Arsenault
Associate Editor
Published
09/15/2015

Dad Turns 4-Month-Old Son Into His Very Own Elf on the Shelf

Nicole Gallucci
Intern
Published
12/17/2015

Science Explains How Dads Learn to Bond With Baby

Anisa Arsenault
Associate Editor
Published
02/17/2017