Getting Your Partner “On Board” with Your Positive Parenting Style
To time out, or not to time out, that is the question. No matter how similar you and your partner may be, couples always have some differences in opinion when it comes to parenting. What happens if one parent is all about positive parenting and the other the complete opposite? K.C. Dreisbach, a licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, has her own opinion on how you can get your partner “on board” with positive parenting! And since this is the last of the fabulous Q&As, I want to say THANK YOU to K.C. for all the insightful answers! She really went above and beyond what I had expected and I have learned so much from all these posts! Don’t worry, we enjoyed collaborating so much that she will for sure be back on The Terrific Five!
Welcome to the last day of our visit with Betty and The Terrific Five on the “Trials of the Working Parent” Blog Book Tour, and Part 7 of our multi-day, Q&A Series! If you missed yesterday’s post, check it out here to read about how to manage sibling rivalries. As we come to a close with our visit here, I want to say “thank you” a final time to Betty and to all who submitted a question. Just as I have mentioned in previous posts, please make sure you keep our “foundation” in mind as you read through these last few questions from readers (i.e. the complexity of the questions, and my definition of “discipline”). So let’s get started and discover ways to get your partner on board with your chosen parenting style!
Question: My husband doesn’t believe that positive parenting works. He believes that we are letting our toddler take the easy way out and therefore not facing the consequences of his actions. How can I get my partner on board with positive parenting?
Answer: I won’t lie to you… this is a toughie! I’m going to start by saying that parents have got to be on the same page when it comes to parenting their child. Kids are very smart, and can easily pick up when parents are in disagreement with one another. I also want to tell you that you are not the first parents to disagree on a parenting style or technique. There are many couples that struggle with this very thing, and they manage to get through it successfully. You have a few options available to you. Let’s go through them briefly:
- Get an Objective Opinion- Most folks I work with come to me for parenting help. One of the things I tackle is helping parents come to an agreement on how to handle difficult parenting tasks, like consequences for behaviors. An objective opinion can be really helpful! Don’t be afraid to seek out a Family Therapist or a Parenting Coach. These people can really help you guys see eye-to-eye and bring in a fresh view on a tired issue.
- Come Up with a Compromise- It’s ok if you mix and match a couple of different parenting techniques and styles! If you really like Positive Parenting approaches, but he just can’t buy into them, spend some time getting to know what approaches he would like to use/try. If we want our partners to be open to our parenting methods, we have to be equally open to theirs. Try picking your top 3 or 4 parenting techniques that you don’t want to give up, such as “I don’t want to use Time Outs,” or “No yelling at the kids,” etc. Let him know that these are non-negotiable items for you. Let him do the same. What is a non-negotiable item for him? Compare your answers. Hopefully, your non-negotiable items will be compatible. If not, this should lead to some meaningful discussions about your items. After that, be willing to try some new techniques! If you’re willing to try new things, he might be willing to too!
- Pick a Boss- Sometimes, no matter how much you try, you’re left in a situation where your partner won’t budge. His non-negotiable items are items you just can’t agree with. Perhaps you’ve asked about going to family therapy and he just about lost his mind at the mention of it. At this point, you’re stuck. The time has come to pick a boss. In therapy, I’ve had families where one parent refuses to come in and be a part of treatment. This is not ideal, and as a therapist, it says a lot to me about the underlying family issues that might be going on. When this happens, I present the family with an ultimatum: both parents participate, OR the parent who doesn’t want to participate turns over decision making to the parent coming to the family sessions. Surprisingly, when presented with this ultimatum, the non-participating parent has always been willing to hand over responsibility to the other parent. Unfortunately, this is not the solution I like to see, but for the sake of the kids having consistency in their parents, it can be helpful. If you find yourself in this situation, pick a boss. Whether it is you or your spouse, decide who will take on the responsibility of disciplining the kids and how that discipline will be implemented. Both parents can make household rules, but the boss is the enforcer.
I hope that is helpful! I wish I could give you more help with this one, but hopefully this gives you some ideas on how you can manage this issue. Good luck!
Before we come to a close today, I wanted to take a second to share a few final thoughts. There was a question posted by a reader that asked if Positive Parenting techniques work with all children, or if some kids require something different. I think this is a really important concept to review. Every child is different, and not every child responds to the same parenting style or technique. I’ve worked with families where each child within the same family needed completely different approaches. This is especially true for kids who have suffered trauma, have developmental delays, or a mental health issue, such as ADHD or Oppositional Defiant Disorder. In general, kids respond well to praise, which is a cornerstone of positive parenting techniques, but some kids need more motivation to behave.
Don’t feel bad if this is your child. This doesn’t make you a bad parent or your child some sort of juvenile delinquent! And if you need to rely on other parenting techniques, such as Time Outs, removal of privileges, etc., it’s ok! Your kids will still grow up to be happy, healthy, and well-adjusted adults. If you feel like this might be your child, I highly recommend you check out my book, “Trials of the Working Parent,” even if you’re a stay-at-home momma. I go into some great detail on how to use other parenting techniques, such as Time Outs and Object Time Outs as a way to work with your Little Ones. Sometimes these techniques get a “bad rap” from folks, but when used appropriately, are actually very gentle on children, AND effective. In fact, when the concept of Positive Parenting first started, Time Outs were one of the top techniques used within this parenting style! Somewhere along the line, people forgot that Times Outs were actually a Positive Parenting technique! The key is to use it correctly, which most parents don’t, and that’s why it’s gotten a “bad rap.”
That’s all for today! I hope you’ve enjoyed our multi-part Q&A Series! If you found this series helpful, check out my book, “Trials of the Working Parent” on Amazon, where you can learn more about managing life and raising young children who are happy, healthy, and well-balanced!
Thanks again to Betty, here, at The Terrific Five, for hosting me. The next stop on the “Trials of the Working Parent” Blog Book Tour is with Mindy at the Adventures of the StuCrew on August 15th. Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook or visit my website to subscribe to get updates on the Book Tour, more parenting tips, and information on future book releases! See you all then!
Guest Author Bio
K.C. Dreisbach is a licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Southern California. She has spent years in the field of mental health helping thousands of families achieve happy, healthy lives. Currently, she is a Clinical Supervisor for a non-profit agency working with troubled youth and their families. She is also the author of the new book, “Trials of the Working Parent.” In her spare time, she enjoys outdoor activities and spending time with her two young children and husband.