Try these 5 communication strategies to navigate parenting conflict, so you can be a strong parenting team even when you disagree.
Have you ever experienced parenting conflict?
Every mom and dad runs into this problem eventually. You might share many goals and plans in your parenting… but sometimes, you’ll totally disagree on the parenting moment right in front of you!
When you’re on totally different pages about how to handle a situation with your kids… is it even possible to stay on the same page?
Can you be a parenting team even if you disagree?
Even when you disagree, you want to stay on the same team. It’s KEY to still feeling connected as a couple and enjoying family life together.
That’s why I’m here to share 5 communication strategies to help you navigate through parenting conflict.
It’s definitely possible to be a strong parenting team, even when you disagree. And these strategies will help.
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5 communication strategies for handling parenting conflict
In my ideal world, my husband and I agree on everything. Ahhhh. No disagreements. Zero conflict. We’re always on the same page.
Except, we aren’t clones of each other, and we can’t read the other person’s mind… so sometimes, there is parenting conflict!
I know you have these moments too.
1. Have regular check-ins... before parenting conflict begins
Yes, you need to check in after there is some disagreement.
But if you wait until then to start talking about your parenting ideas and goals, you’re setting yourself up for conflict.
Don’t wait! Maybe it’s a date night, or a monthly appointment on the calendar, but check-in regularly about your role as mom and dad.
2. Know your ground rules... and follow them
Every couple has unspoken ground rules that guide their conversations. But if you’re struggling with parenting conflict, it might help to make those ground rules more clear.
Wondering what some helpful ground rules might include?
- No name calling – ever.
- Don’t argue in front of the kids.
- Bite your tongue instead of criticizing the other person (or their ideas) in front of the kids.
- Unless 100% necessary, avoid stealing control from the other person and changing the plan after they’ve told it to the kids.
3. Speak positively about your husband in front of the kids... always.
There will be INCREDIBLE blessings to your Christian family relationships if you use this communication strategy!
It’s straightforward, but not always easy: Anything negative about your husband stays away from your kids.
Make him the rock star they already think he is.
Does this mean that you’ll always have to pretend you agree with him? That you’re always the “bad guy” while he gives the kids ice cream every night?
No. What it means is that you compliment him (and his ideas) in front of the kids, point out his great qualities, and bite your tongue on the rest. Save it for a private conversation.
(Don’t worry, tips are below for having that conversation with him!)
4. Find your common ground... and focus there!
It is really easy to focus on areas of disagreement. These are sticking points in your marriage and possibly in your overall family dynamics.
But if you want to be a strong parenting team, you need to focus on the common ground.
Every couple has things they disagree about. But you can still be a strong parenting team.
How can you find your common ground? Consider:
- Where do you agree with your husband about parenting? (Does he know that you agree with him?)
- What goals or priorities do you share? (How could you highlight this more in your family?
- Is there something in parenting that you never argue about? (How could you build on this?)
Think about this, talk about this, and build on this. It will solidify your “team” in a big way!
5. Know your own priorities, values, and the reasons why... and discuss that.
A healthy and happy Christian marriage will include a lot of communication.
And if you want that to be really helpful, productive, communication, you need to know YOURSELF first. Start there!
- What do you prioritize in parenting?
- Why is this so important to you?
- If you could only focus on ONE thing as a parent, what would it be? Why?
You might find these free Christian journaling prompts helpful as a jumping off point.
From there, of course, you need to talk about your thoughts with your husband! Trust me, no matter how amazing he is, he cannot read your mind.
How to have the hard conversation about parenting conflict
Okay, this isn’t the fun part. But to be a strong parenting team, this is absolutely necessary.
Sometimes, you just need to have the hard conversations.
The 5 tips above will help you stay strong as a team. But there will be times when you realize in the heat of the moment that you disagree with your husband… and then you need to have a conversation with him about it.
To have that conversation in the best possible way, try these steps:
- Wait until you’re calm and in private.
- Don’t spring it on him, give him a “heads up.”
- Share your point of view: what happened, why you disagree, and what you think instead.
- Watch your words and your tone… don’t be rude.
- Let him share his point of view and why that is important to him.
From there, the conversation can move forward. You’ve both stayed calm, said your piece, and heard the other person. That is a parenting TEAM conversation!
What's next for your parenting conflict?
Listen to Episode #146
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Disclaimers: I am a licensed therapist but my podcast, blog, and resources are not professional or personal advice. I am an affiliate for many of the resources that I link to, and may earn a small commission if you purchase through my link. Read my full disclaimer here.