“He sleeps in the Moses basket.”
“No, he sleeps in the bed.”
“Cloth diapers are gross.”
“Cloth diapers save us money.”
“Get the gripe water.”
“We aren’t giving our 3-week-old baby gripe water!”
Who knew there could be so many different reasons to argue once your little one enters your life? Who knew that mom and dad could be polar opposites when it came to parenting styles? Consider this your reminder to discuss parenting styles before your baby arrives. Though it may seem trivial and unnecessary, this is important and can save you from plenty of middle-of-the-night bickers.
Let’s be honest: no one needs more reasons to be irritated at 2 am when your baby is already screaming at you.
It is never a bad idea to begin the conversation of, “What would you do as a parent in this situation?” Even before pregnancy, it can be a fun way to connect and dream together of the day your family grows from two to three. Discovering that positive pregnancy test is a great time to launch those questions if you haven’t yet.
It’s important to remember during these discussions that neither of you is necessarily “right,” and both of you have an incredible point of view. You each were raised by different sets of parents with different standards and different outlooks. You both have a unique role to play in the life of your baby and learning to talk about and discuss parenting styles early on before your baby arrives will be better for everyone’s relationship.
Unsure how to establish these type of dialogues?
Picture a martini glass: begin broad at the opening of the glass, and slowly move down into more intimate and specific questions. Ask a question about the far off future, something that is subject to change as well as something that shouldn’t cause any sort of heated argument at this time: “Do you think we should buy our kids cars, they should buy their cars, or we buy together?” “Are you hoping to pay for our kid’s college tuition?” Remember, when asking these questions think about where the other person is coming from. If your answer is the complete opposite of your spouse’s, consider each of your upbringings; discuss why you believe you should or should not do these things.
As you move down into the martini glass of questions, remind your spouse (and yourself) that these are conversation starters. You are on the same team. You’re beginning healthy conversations that will last a lifetime. Discussing things like cloth diapers versus disposable, co-sleeping versus not, spanking and discipline, and when to take your infant out into public is a great way to get unified as parents. When just one spouse is making all the parenting decisions, it not only degrades the other spouse’s value as a parent, but also tends to shut them down by telling them they’re not worthy of being this child’s parent.
Make it a point to begin discussing parenting styles before your baby arrives. You won’t regret it.
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