7 Ways To Cope With Family Isolation Due To The Coronavirus

7 Ways To Cope With Family Isolation Due To The Coronavirus

With social distancing becoming the norm during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, daily routines are drastically changing. As schools close and many parents work from home, adjusting to the changes can be quite challenging. It is common for anxiety to increase during times of change and uncertainty. However, there are some things you can try to help protect your mental health and make it easier to cope with family isolation due to the coronavirus.

1. Create Some New Family Rules

Family rules help keep everyone on the same page by establishing expectations and consequences. As everyone adjusts to spending a lot of time in close quarters with each other, it will be easy to see where rules might be needed to maintain the peace. You may need to establish rules around personal space, work needs, daily chores, and screen time. If you are working from home, you may need to discuss with your children what that means and what you expect from them. Rules should be clear, stated positively, and have consequences that everyone understands. Consequences can be either negative or positive and can increase if the rule continues to be broken. Creating some new family rules can make it easier for everyone to understand what is expected during this time.

2. Maintain A Flexible Schedule

Following a daily schedule is normal for most people, this is especially true of children who often do well with a structured routine. In times of uncertainty, a daily routine can create a sense of normalcy. Having a schedule in place can help families cope with the current situation more effectively. However, a strict schedule could be very difficult to follow during the adjustment period. At this time, many children are participating in online school and many parents are working from home. While it’s helpful to have a schedule, without some flexibility the schedule can add more stress to your lives. For instance, if your children are supposed to do their school work from 10 a.m. until 12 p.m., and the system is down then, arranging the schedule differently will be necessary. A schedule that allows for flexibility when needed will be most beneficial to your family at this time.

3. Support Each Other

This situation is new for everyone. There is a lot of uncertainty and unknowns and anxiety typically increases under these conditions. Talk about your needs, worries, and concerns. Ask for help if you need it. Come up with a plan for dividing responsibilities and chores that works for your family. Your children also need a place to share their feelings and experiences. If you listen to each other and encourage open sharing, you will be less likely to start resenting one another. Children are less likely to act out and have a tantrum if you are able to help them put words to their feelings. This difficult situation can be made a little easier for everyone with proper support.

4. Teach Life Skills

Use this time to teach your children important life skills. Children and teens often have busy schedules. Between school, homework, and after school activities it can be hard to find spare time. Since you have time to spend with each other during the family isolation period, you can use this time to teach your kids important life skills. You can teach your children how to cook a meal, clean the house, do their own laundry, maintain a car, and balance a checkbook. Younger children can help you by putting together ingredients, or handing you tools. Older children can first complete some of these tasks with you, and when ready can try to do it on their own. When it is time for your children to go out into the world on their own, it will be easier to let them go when you are confident they have the necessary skills.

5. Spend Time Together

Spend time together as a family. Even though you are together more at this time, it doesn’t necessarily mean you are spending quality time together. You still want to be intentional about scheduling time with your family. Spend time playing together outside, exercise together, or practice meditation and other mindfulness activities. Family game nights, make your own pizza nights, and family movie nights are some ways to encourage spending quality time together as a family. When you spend time together focusing on fun instead of your worries, the entire family will benefit. You can use this time together to grow closer to one another.

6. Implement Quiet Time

While spending time together at this time is important, so is spending time alone. Both children and adults benefit from scheduling a quiet time during the day. This is a time during the day that everyone spends time alone engaging in quiet, solitary activities from 30 minute to 1 hour. Quiet time provides an opportunity to engage in self-care, focus on and process your feelings, utilize your imagination, and practice mindfulness. Having this time away from one another can minimize arguments between siblings and gives everyone personal space. Spending time engaged in solitary, quiet activities is good for everyone in the family.

7. Encourage Acceptable Social Interaction

Humans are wired for connection. Social distancing can make it harder to feel connected to others, which can increase feelings of loneliness. While it may not be a good idea to connect with others face-to-face, there are safe ways to stay connected. Video calls, staying connected on social media, phone calls, texting, and even letter writing are safe ways to stay connected with friends and family, while maintaining a safe distance. Making sure your family members stay in touch with their social connections during this time is important to their emotional well-being.

Although family isolation during the coronavirus outbreak can be difficult, you can survive and even thrive with some adjustments. If you have tried implementing the above strategies and are still struggling, virtual family therapy can help. By putting a plan in place, your family can come out of this isolation period with an even stronger connection.

The Benefits Of Quiet Time For Children

The Benefits Of Quiet Time For Children

Establishing a quiet time routine for your children can be quite helpful to their development. Our fast-paced society is very stimulating. This can be especially true for children since they are constantly exposed to new information. However, in order to make sense of the information, children need to process what they are learning. They do this best in an environment with little to no additional stimulation. In fact, daily quiet time provides a number of benefits for children.

What Is Quiet Time

Quiet time refers to a scheduled period of time during the day for your child to engage in independent activities with little external stimulation. During this time, electronic devices should be limited. Your child should be encouraged to entertain themselves in a safe area. Often, quiet time can take place in a child’s bedroom. Young children might benefit from a timer that goes off when quiet time ends. If you have children that are close in age, you will want to make sure they each have a separate area to use for quiet time. Once your children give up their naps, quiet time is appropriate for all ages. Quiet time usually lasts for at least 30 minutes, and sometimes up to an hour or longer, depending on the needs of your child. While it might seem like a break for you, quiet time also provides important benefits for your child.

How To Establish Quiet Time

Young children often benefit from a schedule. When there is a consistent routine, kids can feel more secure. It is helpful to incorporate quiet time into your child’s schedule every day. This is a good idea for children of all ages, from two to eighteen. For teenagers, you can call it mindfulness, or meditation time. It will even be beneficial for you to try. Wherever you decide to have your child engage in quiet time, make sure there are safe things for them to use creatively. Establish some rules around the use of electronics so your children will get the most out of their time alone. You may want to let your child know what is and is not appropriate during their quiet time. Such as leaving the area before the timer goes off, damaging things, or being too loud. Your child will benefit in many ways by having a scheduled daily quiet time.

It Helps Them Process

Children are constantly learning. They are often bombarded by new information, or old information being used in a new way throughout the day. Receiving information is only a part of the learning process. Kids also need to make sense of this information by processing it. Quiet time gives children a chance to process, organize, and synthesize new information. This helps deepen their learning. Time resting, but awake, helps kids solidify the things they’ve learned throughout the day. Quiet time provides an opportunity for this solidification to occur.

Creativity Improves

Scheduled quiet time enables children to engage their imagination. Imagination and quiet time help creativity flourish. When kids engage in quiet time, their attention, focus, and creativity increase. They learn how to manage boredom and turn it into an opportunity to problem-solve. Your brain doesn’t shut down during quiet time. In fact, it is busy actively evaluating and internalizing information. Without a lot of external stimulation, children are able to tap into their innate creativity. Since quiet time is unstructured, kids are able to become very creative as they let their imagination take charge.

It Helps Them Recharge

Engaging in quiet time each day gives kids an opportunity to recharge. When they have time away from stimulation, kids can become more tolerant of others, and more patient in general. A little time reflecting on their experiences helps them gear up for the new things to come. Providing a scheduled quiet time for your children can also decrease their tantrums as they feel more refreshed and recharged afterwards. When your child is recharged, it’s a lot more relaxing spending time with them.

Feelings Are Better Understood

Kids are able to understand, tolerate, and even regulate their emotions more effectively when they have quiet time every day. It can be hard for a lot of people to sit with their thoughts and understand their feelings. When children have scheduled quiet time, they have time to sit with their feelings and let them be felt. This enables them to acknowledge what they are feeling, differentiate their feelings, and process their feelings. Good mental health habits can be established, and symptoms of anxiety and depression can decrease, when kids have time to sit with their feelings.

It Helps Them Self-Soothe

While your children will naturally turn to you for comfort, self-soothing is an important skill for kids to learn. Quiet time provides an opportunity for your child to learn to manage boredom and comfort themselves. This way, they can learn to calm down and better regulate their emotional responses. When a child is able to self-soothe when they feel distressed, they are often more willing to try new things. This can help them build their self-confidence and can increase their self-esteem.

Mindfulness Improves

Mindfulness, being fully present in the moment without judging what is happening, is a great skill for children to practice. Quiet time provides an opportunity for kids to be mindful. Practicing mindfulness helps improve emotional well-being and provides a sense of inner calm. While young kids are naturally good at mindfulness, practicing mindfulness can be especially helpful for teenagers. Mindfulness activities such as meditation and yoga can help children feel more grounded and more self-aware.

These are some of the benefits that your child will experience when they participate in quiet time. When children are able to find calm in the midst of chaos, the benefits will be long lasting. By establishing a daily quiet time, you give your children the gift of peaceful solitude that they can utilize throughout their life. 

6 Ways To Support Your Child During A Tantrum

6 Ways To Support Your Child During A Tantrum

Tantrums are extremely common in children between the ages of one and four. Although you might know this intellectually, it can be quite difficult to deal with your child screaming and yelling in the grocery store because they can’t have candy. You might be embarrassed, or fear being judged as a bad parent. While it may not be possible to prevent it, there are some ways to support your child during a tantrum.

What Is A Tantrum

A tantrum is an emotional outburst caused by emotional distress. Although It is a normal part of child development, it can be frustrating for parents. When a young child is experiencing a tantrum, they might hit, throw things, bite, scream, cry, or hold their breath. Your child might be inconsolable and might resist your attempts to comfort them. This can be hard for parents, especially if a tantrum occurs in a public setting.

Why Do Young Children Have Tantrums

Children can experience a tantrum for a variety of reasons. A tantrum is more likely to occur if your child is thirsty, tired, or hungry. It can also occur if there has been a change in their normal routine. A tantrum can be in response to an unmet desire, which a young child can see as a need. For example, your child wants a cookie and you want them to eat their dinner first. They may have a tantrum because they want the cookie now, not after dinner. Young children have a hard time regulating their emotions. They often feel overwhelmed by their feelings and lack the vocabulary to articulate their experience. Even though tantrums in young children are normal, there are things you can do as a parent to help.

1. Safety First

Young children are naturally self-centered and have great difficulty with delayed gratification. Because of this, when their desires are not immediately responded to, they could have a tantrum. As a parent, it is important to make sure that your child is safe when they are having a tantrum. You also need to make sure that everyone else is safe as well. Moving a child to a different area, taking away things they can throw, or keeping other children at a distance can help keep everyone safe until your child calms down. Reasoning with an out-of-control child seldom works. Therefore, the first step in managing your child’s tantrum is making sure everyone is safe.

2. Regulate Your Own Emotions

When your child is having a tantrum and is inconsolable, you might notice yourself feeling upset, frustrated, and a bit out of control as well. This is due to mirror neurons. Mirror neurons enable you to attune to another’s experience and reflect it back. However, getting angry or upset yourself because of the frustration experienced by your child will only escalate the situation. Instead, it is more helpful if you are able to remain calm. This way you will be able to stay in the situation to help your child understand their experience without allowing your own feelings to take over.

3. Speak Softly

One way to keep things from escalating is to lower your voice. If you try to raise your voice to the level of your child, you will need to scream. This can cause you and your child to feel even more out of control. Lowering your voice and speaking calmly yet firmly, might cause your child to lower their voice so they can hear you. While this won’t always work immediately, your child will learn over time that they can gain more control over their reactions when they speak in a calmer tone. 

4. Attune To Your Child

Another way to help your child during a tantrum is attunement. Attunement refers to being aware of and responsive to the needs of another. When you attune to your child, you respond to their subtle cues to determine what is going on for them. Attunement helps you bond with your baby and form an attachment. This enables you to notice when they might be tired, hungry, or sick. By attuning to your child, you can take steps to avoid a tantrum by addressing the needs of your child. You can also better understand what your child may be trying to communicate with their tantrum when you attune to them.

5. Name The Feeling

It is difficult for young children to discern and identify their feelings. They could also be lacking the words to express what they are experiencing. Let your child know that their feelings are okay, no matter what they are feeling. Help them name their feelings so they can begin to learn how to identify their emotions. If you can see they are sad because their friend took their toy, state this. When you validate their feelings, they can begin to process their experience. Sometimes your child just wants  to feel heard and understood. Once they believe that you get it, that might be enough for them to begin to calm down.

6. Give Them Space

If you have tried all of the above suggestions and the tantrum is continuing, give your child space. Let them know that it is okay if they need to cry and if they need your help to let you know. Maybe they just need a good cry. When they have calmed down a little, you can ask if they would like a hug. Reassure your child at this time and see if you can redirect them. A hug and a little understanding can go a long way towards helping your child feel better. 

Although tantrums are a normal way for your young child to express their frustrations, they can still be hard to deal with. Tantrums are normal and can be used to help teach your child about their feelings. Once your child is able to explain their emotions with words, their tantrums will most likely decrease. Having a parent to support them through their overwhelming feelings can help improve their emotional well-being.

Peripartum Mood Disorders

Peripartum Mood Disorders

Pregnancy and childbirth is a special time in a woman’s life. However, it can be a difficult and even scary time for women who experience a mood disorder. If you are feeling disconnected from your baby, have difficulty feeling joy, or experience anxiety, you might have a peripartum mood disorder (PPMD). Read on to learn more about PPMD.

PPMD

PPMD encompasses a number of different mood disorders. Although postpartum depression is the most commonly known, other mood disorders can also occur. This includes mood disorders such as peripartum anxiety, peripartum obsessive-compulsive disorder, and peripartum psychosis. The key factor in receiving a diagnosis of PPMD is that the symptoms occur during pregnancy or shortly after giving birth. Peripartum is used instead of postpartum since it is recognized that symptoms can occur prior to giving birth as well as after delivery.

The Baby Blues

It is normal to experience mood swings and negative feelings after giving birth. This is commonly known as the baby blues. In fact, up to 80% of women will experience the baby blues within several days after giving birth. While you might experience crying spells, irritability, anxiety, and mood changes the symptoms will end after a two week period. Symptoms also last for short periods of time during the day. They do not last all day. The baby blues are thought to be caused by hormonal changes after delivery and possibly the adjustments that occur when you bring home a new baby. Symptoms are not as severe as PPMD and will go away on their own.

Symptoms 

Symptoms of PPMD will vary based on the type of peripartum mood disorder that you experience. To be given a diagnosis of a mood disorder with peripartum onset, you will need to meet the requirements for the disorder according to the Diagnostic And Statistical Manual Of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). The symptoms will also need to occur during pregnancy or not long after delivery. Symptoms of peripartum depression include feeling sad most days for most of the day and a lack of interest in things previously enjoyed. You might also experience feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness. If you are experiencing peripartum anxiety your symptoms probably include constant or near constant worry and racing thoughts. Panic attacks might also be something you experience. Peripartum psychosis is a rare medical emergency. The symptoms include hallucinations, paranoia, rapid mood swings and delusions.

Symptoms Specific To PPMD

While many of the symptoms of PPMD are related specifically to the mood disorder being experienced, there are additional symptoms that occur related to the peripartum period. Mother’s experiencing PPMD might feel disconnected from their baby and have difficulty forming a secure attachment with their child. You could feel numb or sad, and inadequate as a mother. If you have PPMD, you might worry constantly about the health and well-being of your child, while feeling unable to care for them appropriately. Feeling as though you are just going through the motions while believing everyone else can do a better job taking care of your baby is possible. There could be feelings of loneliness and isolation and thoughts of suicide. You may believe that everyone would be better off without you. It is also possible to experience extreme rage, guilt and resentment that can be exacerbated by being unable to calm or breastfeed your baby.

Why It Can Be Hard To Diagnose

A woman goes through a number of changes during pregnancy and after the birth of a baby. Sleep and eating changes are a normal part of this process. Although at other times, eating or sleeping more or less than usual can be used to alert you to a possible problem. You might believe, or even be told, that your symptoms are just the baby blues and will go away on their own. It is also possible that you might hide your symptoms for fear of being judged harshly by others. Minimizing your symptoms to others, and maybe even to yourself, and suffering in silence is another possibility. Not everyone is educated about PPMD and they may believe your symptoms to be a normal part of childbirth.

Causes

While the exact cause of PPMD is unknown, it is thought to be due to multiple factors. There are a number of physical, hormonal, and emotional changes associated with pregnancy and childbirth. A rapid decrease in thyroid hormones can lead to depression or anxiety. Estrogen and progesterone drop significantly following childbirth and can have an impact on a new mother’s emotional well-being. Add to this the changes in a new mother’s body and adjusting to an infant’s needs. Lack of sleep, isolation from others, and the stress of caring for an infant, can all contribute to the development of PPMD. If the birth experience was traumatic, there are social stressors, you are in a difficult or abusive primary relationship, or if illness develops in mother or child, you could have a greater risk of developing PPMD. Experiencing PPMD in the past, having a personal history of a mood disorder, or having a family history of mood disorders can also increase your chances of PPMD.

Treatment

If you experience PPMD, there are treatment options available. Medication and psychotherapy can help ease the symptoms of PPMD. The medications used will depend on the type of PPMD that you are experiencing. Individual therapy can help you learn to manage the symptoms of PPMD. Couples counseling can help strengthen your relationship during this time. Group therapy can provide a safe space for you to share your experiences with others who can relate. Reaching out to others for support and help with child care duties can also be beneficial.

If you are experiencing PPMD, you do not have to suffer alone. It is important that you tell someone you trust about the symptoms you are having so you can get help. This could be your doctor, friend, family member, mental health professional, or spouse. The important thing is that you get the help you need. With the right treatment, you can feel better and improve your overall emotional well-being.

8 Ways To Teach Your Children About Giving

8 Ways To Teach Your Children About Giving

As a parent, you want your children to be happy, healthy, and successful. You probably also want your children to be kind and compassionate and to help those less fortunate. The holiday season is a great time to teach your children about need and ways they can help others. Below are some tips for helping your children understand and experience the joy of giving.

Why Give

Giving to others makes you feel good. In fact, research has shown that giving makes you happier than receiving. Humans are social beings who are wired to connect with others. Giving helps foster feelings of connection and empathy. Helping others releases oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine. These feel good hormones help boost your mood and create feelings of happiness. They also help counteract the effects of the stress hormone, cortisol. Giving freely and by choice stimulates the reward center, the mesolimbic area, of the brain. The more you give, the more you want to give. When you give to someone else, it helps improve your own emotional well-being. Since giving can be so beneficial, teaching your children about giving to others makes a lot of sense. 

1. Talk About Need

Talk to your children about differences in financial situations, physical ability and emotions. It can be hard for younger children to understand the concept of money. Explaining that some people don’t make enough money to buy food or live in a home, can help them begin to grasp this concept. Discuss times when your child was sick and not able to do as much to help them understand how physical limitations could impact others. Emotional differences can be explained by discussing a time when your child was very sad or nervous and how these feelings can linger for some. When explaining these differences to your child, keep in mind their age and maturity level so you can explain it in a way they can understand.

2. Be A Good Role Model

When you practice kindness and generosity yourself, your child is more likely to practice this as well. Kids learn more by watching what you do, than by what you say. Let them witness the way that you give to others. Explain to your children who you are helping and why. If you are volunteering and it is appropriate, bring your child with you. When your children see you helping out a neighbor, or donating to your local food pantry, they begin to learn the importance and the value of giving.

3. Talk About Giving

While it is vital to practice what you preach, talking about giving is also important. If giving is a family value, you can discuss with your children why it is a value, what it means to your family, and how you give. Talk to your children about the ways you give of your time, money, and energy. Encourage your children to come up with organizations and people they would like to help. Discuss as a family the best way you can help. When your children have a greater understanding about giving and how they can be involved, it will be easier for them to practice generosity.

4. Involve Your Children

Although your children may not always be able to accompany you when you volunteer, there are a number of ways that you can involve them in the giving process. If you are making dinner for a sick neighbor, they can help you cook, or help you deliver the food. They can donate part of their allowance to a charity of their choice. When it is possible and appropriate for them to go with you when you volunteer, bring them along. If your church or school has a giving tree during the holidays, you can let your child choose a name and help you shop. Involving your child when you can, helps them experience the benefits of giving as well.

5. Volunteer As A Family

Look for opportunities to volunteer as a family. This way, even your very young children can participate. There may be volunteer opportunities at animal shelters where the younger children can help socialize the animals and you and your older children can help walk or groom them. You can make care packages for soldiers stationed overseas. Your younger children can write them letters or draw them pictures and your older children can pick out useful items to include. Volunteering together creates an opportunity to bond as a family while helping others.

6. Donate

Donate items that are no longer useful to you, but may be to others. When the seasons change, you and your children can go through your clothing and donate the clothes that are in good shape but no longer fit. Explain to your children why you are donating these items and how it might help others. Have your children go through their toys and donate the ones they no longer play with. When a child receives new clothes or toys, have them also choose some to give to others. This way they experience the joy of giving as well as receiving.

7. Spend Time With Others

Giving isn’t only about donating money. Spending time with others can be just as meaningful. Your child can visit with an elderly family member and help them complete some of their household chores. They can visit with neighbors who may be feeling lonely. If your child’s sibling is sick and not contagious, they can watch a movie with them or read them a book. Spending time with others helps children practice generosity while strengthening their connections.

8. Perform Acts Of Kindness

Performing acts of kindness is another way to practice giving. Children can perform acts of kindness in a number of ways. They can surprise a family member or friend with a sweet note or drawing. Instead of rushing through the door, they can hold it open for others. They can do one of their sibling’s chores. Something as simple as a heartfelt compliment can make someone’s day and create positive feelings for both the giver and the receiver. Acts of kindness can be performed by even very young children and is a great way to practice giving.

Teaching your children about giving will have long lasting benefits. By talking to your children, involving them in the process, and modeling generosity, your children will be able to better understand the importance of giving. When they understand the benefits of giving they will be more likely to give generously and compassionately.

How To Cope With Different Parenting Styles

How To Cope With Different Parenting Styles

When you and your spouse have different parenting styles, there may be many disagreements about how to raise your children. In fact, different parenting styles can cause major problems in your marriage and a great deal of stress for your children. If this is a problem for your family, there are some things you can do to more effectively cope with your different parenting styles.

Parenting Styles

There are four main types of parenting styles. These include authoritarian, authoritative, permissive, and uninvolved. Authoritarian parents have strict rules and punishments. They believe that children should be obedient and responsive to their high demands. They tend to have a lot of rules with more severe consequences. Authoritative parents, which are considered most effective, have rules that they want their children to obey. However, they are less strict and more flexible. They are also likely to be nurturing and forgiving when a rule is broken. Permissive parents make few demands on their children and can be seen as indulgent. They have low expectations of their children’s ability to have self-control and regulate their emotions. They tend to be nurturing, communicative and lenient and act more like a friend than a parent to their child. Uninvolved parents have very low expectations, place few demands on their children, and have little communication with them. Those with this parenting style tend to be very detached from what is going on in their children’s lives.

How Different Parenting Styles Impact Families

If you and your partner have different parenting styles, your children will most likely know this and try to use it to their advantage. Conflicting parenting styles can cause confusion and inconsistency for children when they receive mixed messages. For example, if an authoritarian parent punishes a child for breaking the rules and their permissive parent ignores the punishment, the child can be confused. They may not know if the rule they broke is important and may not follow it in the future. Having different parenting styles can also lead to conflict with your partner. Arguments about parenting are a common problem for couples with different parenting styles. You may have difficulty having conversations about what you believe to be best for the children and how you want them to be raised. Although having different parenting styles can lead to conflicts for couples, there are some things you can do to mitigate this and instead find common ground.

Understand Your Own Parenting Style

When you are aware of your own parenting style, you can find ways to focus on the positive. That way, you can avoid some of the negative manifestations that can occur. Knowing your parenting style enables you to share with your partner your parenting expectations. You can let your partner know how you were raised and how you would like to parent your own children in a similar, or very different way. This can open up a discussion to help you consider your backgrounds and decide together how to raise your own children.

Establish Family Rules

Creating family rules, which include progressive consequences, is one of the best ways to be consistent with your children. This is true even if your parenting styles differ. When you create family rules that are in line with your values, everyone in the family understands the expectations and consequences. This way, even if the delivery is different, the rules and what happens when they are broken are clear. Since you create these rules and consequences together, you can share your views, beliefs, and styles so they can be reflected in your rules. 

Support Each Other

Even if you disagree with how your partner is handling the situation, you can still support them. Present a united front and don’t allow your children to try to divide you. Don’t argue with your partner about their parenting in front of your children. If your partner has enforced a punishment that you don’t agree with, show support in front of your children and share why you disagree in private. Make sure to defer to your partner in their decision and learn the facts of what occurred when you are alone. When your children know that you will back each other up, it will be hard for them to try to pit you against each other. 

Talk It Out Alone

If you disagree with your spouse, discuss it alone. Even if you want to let your spouse know you disagree in the moment. Keep in mind that it is a bad idea as doing this undermines their authority. If your child feels that they can gain sympathy from you and avoid punishment, they will always seek you out when your spouse is trying to discipline them. This will put you in an awkward position and can cause arguments and resentment with your partner. When you talk to your spouse about your opinions and views alone, you are not put in the position of taking sides. You may not agree with your spouse, but your child does not need to know this. When you discuss this in private, you can make a joint decision on the best way to handle things. This way you can reach a compromise on a new rule and consequence that works for both of you.

Practice Flexibility

Parenting styles may need to be adjusted due to your individual child’s needs, or development. If you are rigid in your views and beliefs, conflict with your child and partner are more likely to occur. The more flexible you can be with adjusting your parenting style, the easier it will be for you to effectively meet your child’s needs. Being flexible can also help you to better complement your spouse’s different parenting style. Then you can use the strengths and weaknesses related to your different parenting styles to your advantage. 

Don’t Make One Parent The Bad Guy

Telling your child to wait until their father gets home, or that their mother is going to be mad at them will not help you be a more effective parent. Even if your spouse has an authoritative parenting style and your child behaves when you use this threat. Your child might begin to fear their other parent and only listen to you when you threaten to tell them. If you want to be able to effectively parent your child, you will need for them to listen to you and respect you. If you need your partner’s input in the situation, you can privately decide how to handle things with your spouse and then present a united front to your child.

Having different parenting styles does not have to ruin your relationship. You can use the above tips to help you manage your differences more effectively. If you are still struggling to find common ground, therapy can help. With some effort, you and your partner can parent your children effectively and have a peaceful relationship, even if your parenting styles are different.

COVID-19 Update

In response to the current coronavirus threat, online/virtual appointments are now available.