As a parent, you have your own standards and rules that you expect your children to follow. What happens when your mother or one of your mother’s friends, or the parents of your child’s friends, or a relative, or a school teacher disagree with your parenting style? What happens if your spouse disagrees with your parenting style?
Here are some ways for handling such scenarios with grace and for maintaining your standards while being respectful of different parenting styles:
Determine the importance of the issue. Before deciding if you should confront or have a discussion with someone who disagrees with your parenting style, take time to think about your differences. If the disagreement is a minor one, such as the time for naptime, it might be best to agree to disagree. If the disagreement is about a bigger issue, such as how to discipline children, it is probably best to discuss the matter with the person.
Discuss the reasons for your parenting style. If you think that you have reached an impasse with the other person, suggest that you sit down together to talk about your respective parenting styles and agree on a time to do so. Where do your styles overlap? What are your differences, and why? Throughout the conversation, remain calm, use words and body language that show interest in the other person, and, importantly, take time to listen to – not just hear – the other person’s point of view.
Reach a compromise. Although it sometimes might be a challenge, do your best to reach a mutual agreement. Remember, a compromise should always have the best interests of the child in mind and should not be viewed as a “win” or a “loss” for either party. If possible, allow your child to know the compromise that was reached, since it will serve as an excellent example for him or her in the future.
Seek help if necessary. If an agreement can’t be reached, especially with a spouse, don’t hesitate to seek appropriate help. A counselor, parenting groups, parenting books, and similar resources could help you and the other person to reach a mutually agreeable solution.