Bewitched; Bothered, and Bewildered

bewitchedIf only we could each have a pert little nose like Samantha on Bewitched to solve all our parenting problems. Her predominant parenting style involved her meeting her family’s everyday problems with a smile and a twitch of her nose.  Viola! No more problems. One happy family.

I have mentioned the importance of each of you understanding your individual temperament in a previous blog.  As parents, understanding your parenting style is equally important-you can build on those characteristics where you are strong, and you can shore up those areas where you do less well.

In the Confident Parenting Coach library of screenings, we offer one that allows you to develop your own personal profile.  With this in hand, we offer a partnership with you in dealing with individual parenting issues, as they arise.

Understanding Your Partner

There is one more thing you need to take into account: the parenting style of your partner.  The chances of you and your partner, at the start, being on the same page in terms of your parenting styles is low.  It is, hopefully, something you grow into together as the baby grows, too.

However, if, based on your different childhood experiences and different temperaments, the gap does not narrow, or even gets wider, than the family is likely to experience tension and difficulties.  Moreover, if you share your child with an estranged partner, or if you now must take into account a scenario with a new third step parent or step partner, you will need to understand the styles of all to ensure your child’s success.

How many of you have had those conversations?  Where are your areas of agreement? Where is there likely to be a degree of tension?  How do you keep the child at the center of your efforts without allowing any negative history between you to become an obstacle?  How do you navigate these potentially turbulent waters to ensure that each adult is approaching the child’s parenting in the same manner?  To be successful requires diplomacy, tact, and honesty.

Many times, I have sat in my office listening, while what appear to be, otherwise, very nice people at odds with each other over the other’s parenting style. These are not people who are necessarily on the road to divorce ( those are the couples that insist on meeting with me separately because they cannot be in the same room together without fighting), but who are struggling to confidently parent because they do not understand each other’s parenting style and its impact on the child and the family.

Reaching An Agreement

This is when starting the conversation anew with their individual parenting style screenings is important. With these profiles to provide perspective, each parent can begin to understand where the other is coming from, and how they interact best with their child.  From this, an agreement can be developed as to how each will approach a parenting issue; how the other will try to respect that approach, and how they will form a united front in the face of often relentless pressure from their child. The match or mismatch between your child’s temperament and your distinct parenting style has a major impact on your child’s emotional development and happiness.

The bottom line is this: A poor fit between a child’s temperament with specific parenting styles leads to poor child development outcomes.  A good fit between a child’s temperament with specific parenting styles leads to optimum developmental outcomes. Read more about our temperament and parenting styles screenings on our Confident Parenting Coach website.