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As a new step parent, I struggle with matching my parenting style to my spouse's. How do you do that, especially if your styles are very different?

12 Answers
Last Updated: 04/10/2018 at 3:11pm
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Top Rated Answers
February 24th, 2015 1:46pm
This is a really good question and something that most parents have to face at some point once children enter their lives. It's important to remember that we all come into relationships with our own belief systems from our upbringings but it doesn’t always mean it’s the best way to raise your family. Each family is unique and what is the most important thing is communication with your partner. My husband and I have very different views on raising children, what's important here is that there is often no right and wrong. It is possible to raise kids together with slightly differing parenting styles but it is crucial that you agree to accept these differences from the start. At least be open to hearing your partner’s point of view about them. Another thing that is key is to compromise - for example, you might disagree with your partner giving your kids treats too often, you'd prefer they never had them and they were on a strict organic diet - this is where it's important to meet in the middle, doing that will mean you achieve far more consistency with discipline, which is so important for kids.
September 20th, 2015 4:15am
Im going to answer this question with my expierience, not as a parent, but as a child whose parents struggled with this for a long time, and continued to struggle when they re-married to another person with his own children and even more different parenting styles. is difficult for a child to have clear rules if each parent allows or not allows different kinds of things; what helped us most was sitting down together with my parents and my siblings and writing down altogether the rules we were going to follow and the punishment expected when we didnt follow them. in that way, the kids get to participate and understand the process, and when you have to follow a rule or a punishment its no specifical parent's decision but the house's rules made by all their imhabitants. of course there still will be disagreeal, so theres a constant need of mutual respect and communication within the parents. and when there is a situation of doubt about what to do towards something, sometimes is a good idea to also include the children in the conversation; of course you dont have to let your kids do whatever they want to, but letting them be in the conversation and give and defend his own opinion will teach him responsability.
March 2nd, 2015 5:40pm
It's ok if your parenting styles don't match 100%. There will be times when you have to allow your spouse the freedom to deal with situations their way, and they will have to allow you that freedom too. Dads don't always do things the way that moms do and vice versa, but that doesn't mean that dads are wrong. It's important to remember that your child learns from each of you in different ways. I would sit down with your spouse and talk about the areas where you disagree. Try to come up with strategies for coping with your differences and come to compromises that work for both of you. Keep the lines of communication wide open so that you can be a united front for your child. You don't have to agree to show love, support and respect. This may always be someting that requires a lot of patience. Be aware of it, be open and try to learn from one another. Don't get discouraged, remember that you both have your child's best interest at heart 😊
April 10th, 2015 7:30pm
I believe it is important for both parents to be on the same page with parenting issues. There may be slight differences in styles, however, maybe you and your spouse could sit down and talk about the pros and cons of each style and them make comprises together on how to parent. It is less confusing for the children when both parents are on the same page. Good luck.
Anonymous - Expert in Parenting
May 11th, 2015 8:11pm
Talk to your spouse. Tell them your concerns with the parenting styles. See if there is a way that you both can develop similar styles while not giving up your own.
June 15th, 2015 9:10pm
We've tried to align on the most important things. But I think it's great for kids to see that there's more than one way to raise kids, to behave, etc. As long as you two aren't contradicting each other or otherwise confusing your kid, you are expressing your character and that's fine.
September 5th, 2015 1:29pm
It is much better for both parents to be on the same team, even if it is necessary to give into the other's style, rather than do things your way. Children will pit parents against each other, otherwise. We never allowed our kids to drive a wedge between us. If one said no to our children the other one backed him up and vice versa. As the step parent, it is your responsibility to yield to the style of the natural parent. That doesn't mean there can't be discussions between you, and negotiations, but never in front of the kids. You may be tempted to be more lenient to win their favor, but that is a mistake. Children actually want boundaries. Or, because it is not your child, you may lean toward being too strict, in which case, you will become the villain. At times, you will have to bite your tongue, or look the other way.
September 15th, 2015 12:04am
Talk to your spouse about it. Share parenting ideas with one another and come to an agreement on how to punish and reward the kids. It's al about coming together and being one (:
November 3rd, 2015 3:31pm
just understand them,talk to them...explain them your thinking and after all u have come to this after where they are today so try to feel their position and dont let a communication gap more like a friend to them rather than taking their control
May 16th, 2016 6:09am
You could talk to your spouse on the methods that you prefer to use and ask him/her if its okay that you practice it in the house.
July 19th, 2016 7:31pm
Sitting down and talking with your spouse can help a lot, if you both want to resolve the tension this causes. It helps to talk about what you want the end goal to be in raising the children, and values and habits you want them to have. Focusing on those end goals can help bring you two together in parenting. Also, it's important to not correct or contradict each other in front of the kids, but to support each other's decisions and talk about the issues in private later if needed. This will show the kids you are united in raising them.
April 10th, 2018 3:11pm
Compromise is the key for any relationship but this is massively magnified in the step-parent relationship. As the bio parent your spouse needs to take the lead adn for you together to work out how you can support them in that and where changes need to be made