6 dos and don'ts for being the best parenting team possible
While we'd all like to think of ourselves as the MVP of parenting, it's much more effective to go in as a team. Check out this expert advice!
Being the best parent you can be for your child is something every mum and dad strives for. While it's nice to think of yourself as an MVP of parenting, a better way to approach solid child rearing is to think of you and your partner as a team. As co-parents, you will work together to raise your children and do it efficiently.
When implemented properly, co-parenting has been linked to children having fewer symptoms of anxiety, depression, and behavioural and social problems. So, it goes without saying that the strategy is effective and beneficial for your children.
So how can a mum and dad properly work together as co-parents? According to Laura D. Pittman, Ph.D., an Associate Professor of Psychology and Director of Clinical Training at Northern Illinois University, there are six dos and don'ts to help do so.
Check out Dr. Pittman's 6 tips for being the best co-parents possible:
1. Split decision making/disciplinary responsibilities
"Parenting decisions should be based on your own opinions as well as the opinions of your co-parent," says Dr. Pittman. "When you don’t agree, it’s essential to find compromises to create rules and set boundaries you can both enforce."
If parents don't come together to set a solid foundation of rules and guidelines, a child may be confused by what he/she can or can't do. If mum says no, then dad must also say no and vice versa. Otherwise, your child may test the limits of each parent and their parenting style! Don't allow for this to happen, parents. It's much wiser to come together and split decision making, and disciplinary responsibilities.
2. Never undermine each other
Pittman says, "When one parent makes a decision or sets a boundary, the co-parent should be supportive of that decision and enforce it in the same way."
To further the ideas stated in entry #1, parents must come together to establish rules; however, when enforcing those rules, it's important that parents not undermine each other. There's no need to usurp or undercut your co-parents disciplinary actions, or parenting decision. Handle everything as a team and don't create tension between you and your co-parent.
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3. Present a united front when setting limits for children
It's not only important to create a strong parenting partnership with your co-parent, but it's also important to show your children that there is a palpable partnership. Let them know that you are a team, and not individual parents.
"This helps the child understand rules and provides them with structure, which can be particularly important as children age and push for more autonomy and freedom," says Pittman. "Children will learn if one parent will be more lenient than the other, and they may take advantage of the parent who is more lenient when asking for privileges."
4. Don't let kids alter any parenting decisions
As co-parents, what you say goes. Period. Don't let your kids have any outcome on the decision you as adults have made. "While it’s important to listen to your child’s perceptions of rules or punishments and keep their feelings in mind, decisions need to be made by parents after thoughtful consideration together," claims Dr. Pittman.
5. Communication is key
According to Pittman, "It is important to talk with each other about your children—even if you disagree on setting a rule or enforcing a punishment." Her suggestion is to make time to come together as co-parents and talk about what's going on with your children. It's important that both co-parents are on the same page and have the same level of understanding.
"This time together will likely foster your co-parenting relationship and help you both be the best parents you can be," she says.
6. Don't involve children in parenting conflicts
As with any relationship, you can expect an altercation or two to arise. Even the best teams get in spats from time to time. What's important to keep in mind is that your children needn't be a part of it.
"Involving children will force them to choose sides and increase conflict between you and your partner," suggests Pittman. "Your child may suffer, too, from being drawn into the fray."
This article was originally published by Psychology Today.
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