Difference in Parenting and Disciplining Styles Between Parents

Updated on September 13, 2006
M.C. asks from Charlotte, NC
6 answers

My husband and I have very different styles of parenting and disciplining our 2 year old daughter (though neither of us believes in any form of physical discipline!) As is probably common with 2 year olds sometimes one style works and sometimes somthing else works. However, we find that the differences in our styles seems to cause tension between us. We haven't had any major discussions about it as neither of us want to argue but there often seems to be an underlying sense of friction over "who is right". We are basically a close and loving couple and are openly affectionate towards each other and towards our daughter.

This must be a pretty common situation as most men and women tend to have different styles. Any tips or suggestions on how you overcame this issue in your family?

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answers from St. Louis on

Hi M.!
My husband and I have different styles of parenting as well, and it has not been easy. After arguing and discussing, there is a point that we realized that these differences just make things worst for the kids They do not understand points of view, background or idiosincracy. Also, it is important to consider that is a situation very confusing for them not knowing who is right and who is not.
We have had many arguments about different things regarding our kids' education ( bedtime, exercising during the week or weekend..etc..) and it was positive to talk, and try the ideas of each other and see which one is the best or which one works better for the kids and their needs (Not for our friends' kids because in our case, my husband was very influenced by that). Our advantage is that we NEVER argued or discussed in front of the kids..that is VERY important. When I notice something that I am not agree with, I just keep silence and then I would talk to my husband about my feelings or thoughts. To achieve this, take a lot of time and patience because , as you know, men think absolutely different from us, women.
Talk to your husband, once and again but NEVER with anger or tears even if you feel like you want to divorce him! Little by little you'll see the light!!

Good Luck!




answers from Greensboro on

It's common for a couple to have differences when it comes to disciplin. Like one parent says no you can't do that and the other says it's ok go ahead. The best way to settle it is not to try determine which parent is wrong or right. If you really sit and think about it both of you agree that some of the things you do are wrong. So if you want to use that method of wrong and right then you are both wrong. The best way to solve this problem is to sit down and talk about what both of you feel is the best way to disciplin (here's the big part) Istead of one or the other saying you're wrong say ok this is what I think and make a compromise of that certain disciplin. Take a piece from what of one of you say and a piece from the other and compromise. Ex.She throws a tantrum One of you say She needs to stand in the corner. The other says she needs to go to her room. Now on this one you could combine that. He has to go to her room and stand in the corner in her room. You have to find a common ground on disciplin. Hope this helps a little.



answers from Spartanburg on

There needs to be consistency, children don't understand the different parenting techniques, they just see that maybe they are able to get away with someone with one parent and the other parent disciplines. you and your husband need to sit down and decide which behaviors are to get punished and what the punishment will be. You have to agree on how to administer the punishment and be consistent everytime with what you do. It may be simply putting them in time out when they act out, but it should be time out each time even if you are doing time out 20 times a day, you have to be consistent. Both of you are going to have to give and take a little in order to compromise, but you need to be united.



answers from Spartanburg on

Perhaps if there were disciplinary guidelines presented from an "outside" professional source, both of you may be more inclided to agree. I would suggest you read together Dr. James Dobson's "The New Strong Willed Child", and/or "Don't Make Me Count To Three" by Ginger Plowman.



answers from Raleigh on

you are definitely not alone. both my kids grew up knowing that mom meant what she said and said what she meant. no idle threats --- loss of toy or time out was going to happen. dad was a different story. he was willing to tell the kids 10 times what to do or not do. then he would blow up and be mad at them. my kids told me they learned when dad was getting serious by the tone in his voice. but sometimes they would judge wrong and tears would come. we went to counseling and it would help for a little while and then he would backslide. the kids just learned to mind him his way and me mine. we are still together after 35 years a little older a little wiser i hope. you both will have to be willing to agree on the main issues of what is and is not appropriate behavior and then parent your way. they always say opposites attract.



answers from Charlotte on

You can't overcome this situation without discussing it and if you can't discuss it without arguing then I would seek council whether it's at your church or someone who is a professional. First of all you can explain to your husband you are concerned about the tension between both of you over your child and your marriage is much too important to allow this to cause distance between you. Suggest that both of you sit down and write out situations that stick in your mind where you felt the discipline was handled differently (do not use the word “wrong”) or write out how you would have handled it. Sit and discuss each one separately. If you see it is getting heated agree to stop and get help but keep your notes. You want to find out why your discipline techniques differ from his and why you each feel the way you do.

If it's causing tension between you and your husband just imagine how confusing it is or will be for your daughter. I am with my son all day as a stay at home mom and I forget that when my husband is with him he has no idea how I handle something and my son gets mixed signals. I make sure if our son is doing something I explain to my husband how I have been handling it and he has always respectfully followed. The only difference is, he may repeat himself a few more time than I would, he might use a different tone of voice, or maybe tweak his discipline a bit but the outcome is still the same and our son is not confused.

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