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Parenting as Partners

Caring for a child can be extremely rewarding and demanding at the same time. It’s important to get support to help lead a balanced life. You can’t focus all your energy on your role as a parent—you have other needs, like alone time for leisure and rest. Learn practical ways to make your parenting life a lot easier for you and your children.

Kids feel confused when their parents disagree

Children look to their primary caregivers for advice and modeling. They learn by watching others and observing how the adults in their lives manage emotions like joy, fear and conflict.

When kids see their parents argue, they might feel confused. They become uncertain about whose lead to follow. As they get older, kids may use their parents’ disagreements to push boundaries and avoid consequences.

Children may start to associate one caregiver as the “good parent,” while the other becomes the “mean parent”. The “mean parent” might feel the bond with their child isn’t as strong and could miss opportunities for affection and quality time.

Your upbringing plays a role in your approach to parenting

Your childhood experiences directly affect your parenting views and practices. If you grew up in a loving, caring environment, you likely practice the same approach with your children. You probably realize the benefits of fostering your children’s self-esteem and well-being. Conversely, if you experienced a chaotic and punitive home environment, you may inadvertently engage in yelling. You may have fewer ground rules and clear expectations or be less affectionate or disconnect from your children.

You get to decide the parenting method that works best for your children, but parenting education can help improve your approach. You can learn to implement positive strategies that promote your children’s development.

Hold regular family meetings

It’s easy to focus on daily demands and forget the value of planning. Parents who plan find it much easier to anticipate—and deal with—potential challenges.

A great Triple P strategy that helps you plan is holding regular family meetings. Set aside time for every family member to come together to discuss what is coming up, what is working and what needs improvement. In the meeting, everyone gets a voice, which helps strengthen your relationship with your children. This safe, positive space helps you talk about dreams, goals and how to help everyone get along. During a family meeting, children learn how to communicate effectively, problem solve and take responsibility. These are all great life skills as your children begin to transition from childhood to adulthood. Try talking about topics like:

  • Meal planning for the week.
  • What to do during the holidays or weekends.
  • Assigning or completing chores.
  • New ground rules or agreements.
  • Conversations about the family’s values and roots.

Stay united in your parenting approach

Before you hold a family meeting, it’s a good idea to meet with your partner to address concerns or disagreements. How to make your pre-meeting successful:

  • Meet at a time when you’re not stressed or dealing with other tasks.
  • Try to reduce all potential distractions to be present with your partner.
  • Identify an agenda of topics to discuss.
  • Set a time limit to avoid getting sidetracked.
  • Start with the easier conversations at first. Save discussions about more intense parenting issues for a time that you feel more comfortable in the meetings.

Your conversation shouldn’t be about determining who’s right or wrong—talk about how you can support one another. Initially, you may not have the time to address all the issues. But as you explore the benefits of coming together in a united front, the meetings with your partner or caregivers will start to feel empowering.


Remember:

  • When children hear different messages from their caregivers, they can feel confused and stressed about whose lead to follow.
  • As children get older, they may try to use their parents’ lack of unity to push the boundaries. This could lead to increased risky behaviors and lack of cooperation.
  • Parents who participate in parenting education programs develop healthier and stronger relationships with their children.
  • We learn by watching. You may unknowingly parent your children the way your parents raised you.
  • Family meetings create a safe space for all family members to express needs, feelings and opinions.
  • Connect with your partner or other caregivers before a family meeting to be a united front. Your meeting will run smoother.


Want to learn more?

Promote your child’s development and strengthen your bond. Learn about Triple P, get more parenting tips and tricks or sign up today!