The ‘gold standard’
If you’ve been on the parenting wagon a while you might have come across the idea of parenting on the same page. It’s an idea that is bandied around a bit as a gold standard for successful parenting. So it’s like opposites attract and then boom, you become a parent and somehow (miraculously) you have to hang out on the same page as your partner. Easier said, than done.
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It’s hardly surprising that when two people from totally different family cultures with different life experiences, personalities, values and ideas have kids, they run aground slightly in the agreement department. Let’s face it, even the most like-minded and well-adjusted couples have a tough time finding their way to the same page when the demands of parenting are in full swing.
Relationship guru, Dr Sue Johnson, believes that relationships can survive (thrive even) when partners are on completely different planets if they can find a way to connect in their differences. It’s heartening to hear that it’s not our differences that are the culprit, but how we navigate these differences that is the real game changer.
So how do we navigate our differences without derailing the entire family?
Johnson says that when couples fight over sex, money or the kids these things are often just the ripple on the surface. Johnson believes that the real fight becomes about the disconnection between partners who are feeling ignored, misunderstood or shut down.
What starts out as a disagreement, often slips into criticism, blame and insults and the whole relationship takes a hit when things get personal. Our kids don’t respond well to criticism, blame and insults so it makes sense that it doesn’t go down well in our relationships either.
Kindness is king
When it comes to parenting on the same page, kindness is king. Kindness pretty much trumps every other clever relationship trick in the book. Taking the time to slow down and tune in to your partner, with kindness, takes the sting out of the differences we have. Using statements like, “This sounds really important to you, I am listening, I want to hear you” helps our partner feel like, even if we don’t agree, we are interested in them, they matter to us and we value their opinion.
Turns out, we all like to feel valued.
Book a session with a Family Coach
Sometimes family life is way more challenging than we had ever imagined. We would like it to be a lot more enjoyable, if only we knew how. Family coaching is designed to meet you where you are at, whatever stage you are at on your parenting and relationship journey. We want to be on the journey with you. To find out more and to book a session, click here.