A Bend Relationship Counselor Explores 3 Common Conflicts between Parents

Marriage is hard enough – but adding kids into the mix?

Chances are, you were raised differently than your co-parent. This is something that will have a profound impact on the way that you want to raise your child. The way that we talk to, discipline, and teach our children is an extremely important part of our lives, so parenting conflicts can seem extra personal.

But don’t worry. Most of the conflicts that you may be facing are completely normal and lots of couples have to navigate them. Below are some of the most common conflicts that parents must learn to deal with:

Inconsistent Rules: Mom says bedtime is 8:00, but Dad says 9:30 is just fine. Before you know it, your child is saying, “But Mom says…” or “But Dad says…” as a way to defy every rule you have.

How to Fix It: Conflicting rules are hard for children to understand. Conflicting rules also become an easy excuse for breaking rules that one parent may set. Understand the importance of consistency, and talk to your spouse about rules like bedtime, curfews, TV hours, and so on. You may have to negotiate on a few issues, but it will pay off in the long run to have a strict set of rules implemented by both parents.

Keeping Secrets: Did you ever get in trouble as a kid, and when one of your parents came to pick you up, they said, “Let’s not tell your Mom/Dad about this”? While it’s every kid’s dream to be spared punishment from the “stricter” parent, keeping these types of secrets will only hurt parents later on. Each parent has the right to know when their child is acting up and make the appropriate judgment calls for punishment and additional rules.

How to Fix It: It’s stressful to tell your partner about your child’s misbehavior, but it’s even more stressful for your partner to find out about it months later. Be upfront with your partner when your child gets in trouble, and come up with an appropriate response together. This will also help to keep things consistent.

The Favorite Parent: No one wants to be the least favorite parent, but this can be hard when one parent is constantly taking their kid to the mall or the amusement park while the other one is stuck doing errands or at home. If one parent is having less fun with their kids, being jealous of the other parent can not only damage their relationship with their children, but with their spouse as well.

How to Fix It: Divide dull responsibilities between both parents, and spend as much “fun time” together as a whole family. Separating each parent to do separate tasks is more efficient, but make sure you’re giving equal time between both parents so your child has the same amount of fun whomever they are with.

Conflicts between parents can very quickly infiltrate the co-parents’ relationship as spouses, friends, and lovers. Tackling the problems together can further solidify your connection and minimize serious issues. For more tips on how to find resolutions to parenting problems, reach out to a Bend relationship counselor.