Dr. Jane on Dealing with Parenting Disagreements

Shrink Candy psychologist, Dr. Jane, shared some tips for parents on what to do when moms and dads disagree.  Dr. Jane talked with WJXT’s Staci Spanos during The Morning Show.

Mom Said, Dad Said

If you’re a parent, you know what it’s like to disagree with your spouse or loved one about parenting.  Everyone tends to have different thoughts, different ideas that you’re raised with, or even different rules that you picked up at school or on TV.  Disagreements are bound to happen and their normal.  Because, when you have children, all of a sudden you’re faced with issues you’ve never thought about before.

Some of the most common topics of disagreement include discipline (What is he allowed to do and what is he not, and What are the consequences?), nutrition (Is he allowed to eat this for breakfast?  Did he even get breakfast?) and safety/curfews (What’s too late to stay out? What online activities are allowed?).

While disagreements are normal, what we need to pay attention to is how we deal with the disagreements!  A study in The Journal of Family Psychology found that when kids see their parents argue about these topics in front of them, they’ll have more behavior problems.   First of all, when your child watches you argue, he might learn about yelling, about how to name call, about how to raise his voice, and about how to make someone cry.  And secondly, depending on how your child reacts, he might become sad inside and blame himself because he might feel that he’s the reason that you both are fighting.

So, what can parents do?  First, try your best to plan ahead.  For example, if it’s summertime, you already know the kids are going to ask to go to the pool, go out with their friends, and go to the movies.  So, talk together and figure out what you both feel comfortable with.  Figure out a game plan!  And then, you have to be consistent!  If you both say, only PG movies are allowed, then that’s it.  Your child knows that even if they corner mom or dad…the answer will be the same.  And of course, there’s going to be an issue that comes up that you both didn’t talk about.  Well, nobody says you have to have an answer right then and there.  Give yourselves time to strategize.  Say “Your dad and I haven’t had a chance to talk about that.  Give us some time to talk about it and we’ll get back to you!”

Best of luck to all the parents!!! Nobody ever said it was easy, but wow, it’s definitely fun!!!

Shrink Candy Video

Marital Adjustment, Child-Rearing Disagreements, and Overreactive Parenting: Predicting Child Behavior Problems.O’Leary, Susan G.; Vidair, Hilary B. Journal of Family Psychology. 19(2), Jun 2005, 208-216
Video provided with permission from THE Local Station WJXT. www.news4jax.com

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