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The Complementary Parenting Styles of Mom and Dad

By Jamell Andrews

It is believed that children develop into who they (ultimately) are based on the confidence their parents have as parents. In other words, if mom and dad are not comfortable being parents, or if they do not exude very much self-confidence in this role, their children are likely to pick up on these feelings. This can contribute to the overall sense of insecurity or lack of self-esteem that children may feel as they grow older.

Children’s personalities are shaped by their familial interactions. Though many parents do not realize it, the way that they act towards each other, and the way they value and respect each other, are vitally important components toward determining a child’s own sense of self-worth.

In order to foster a healthy environment for children that is conducive to their development into well-adjusted adults, it is important that parents create a sort of partnership in terms of their parenting goals. Regardless of whether children are interacting with one parent at a time or both parents at once, it is critical that children have a similar type of experience with each parent.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that mom and dad have to have exactly the same parenting styles, but it does mean that the two different styles need to mesh together so that cohesive, unified parenting can occur. Another way to think about it is that when parents are at odds with one another regarding parenting styles and methods, children are far more likely to play one parent against the other; a situation that merely adds frustration on top of an already tense one.

The various roles that each parent plays, as well as the rules they impose on their children, should be relatively equal so that children do not receive mixed or confusing signals from either parent. If mom and dad do not happen to agree on a particular parenting point, they should take the time to sit down and discuss their differences, which will hopefully allow them to reach a mutual point of compromise that will enable them to co-parent in an equal fashion.

Even divorced parents can act together to ensure that they are parenting their children in a way that is cohesive and promotes family unity. This, of course, is generally not quite as easy as it sounds for people who are divorced, but it is not an impossible task. If mom and dad find that they are having particular difficulty in trying to agree on parenting roles and styles, it would be in their children’s best interests for them to seek the assistance of a family counselor.

Family counseling can provide frustrated parents with some inventive ways to be able to work together, even if they do not live together anymore and do not still have any type of relationship with one another. The most important thing to remember when working on complementary parenting styles is that open, positive communication is the key to ensuring that the children do not suffer as a result of a failed marriage.

Family counseling is also quite helpful for parents who are still married and functioning relatively well as a family unit. Even if mom and dad only have minor disagreements about parenting, it is best to go ahead and talk them out before they escalate into major conflicts.

One Response to “The Complementary Parenting Styles of Mom and Dad”

  • You point out several aspects of human behavior that never dawned on me could be negative in rasing a child. You forget how perceptive even the smallest of children can be. They are sponges and pick up on everything. I agree with you that parents should have a well defined goal in terms of the way they choose to act in front of their children. It can be hard to stick to but making a conscious effort to do your best around your kids is a great start.

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