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|by Michael Grose|
There is no doubt that raising children can really test even the strongest relationships. Partners frequently have different standards of behavior and expectations for their children that can be the cause of considerable tension. In particular, variations in approaches to handling misbehavior can be the source of discomfort and anxiety for one or both parents, especially if the variation is significant.
If one partner believes in the old adage 'spare the rod and spoil the child' while the other parent prefers to reason with children when they misbehave there is likely to be conflict -or else one partner may give in to the other.
These differences are often difficult to resolve as they generally result from deeply held beliefs about how children should be raised. They also probably reflect the type of child-rearing that parents experienced in their own families. The pull from the past are very hard to ignore.
But despite the potential for conflict parental differences are healthy and provide a sense of balance to family life, particularly if one parent's approach complements the other.
They certainly tend to concern parents more than children who are usually quick to work out the differences in approaches from a young age. Most children know which parent to ask for an increase in pocket money and who to stay away from at bed-time. The important issue is how the differences are handled by both partners.
Working out the differences requires open communication between parents as well as a willingness to accommodate the other person's point of view and way of doing things. This is hard as many people devote an enormous amount of time and energy trying to make their partners think and act more like them.
While it may be desirable for both parents to have the same approach, this is difficult to achieve. It is more important to be consistent with your own parenting so that children can predict your reactions to their behavior, understand your standards and feel comfortable with you as a person.
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