24 May 2012

We Want the Scoop on Parenting and MARRIAGE


Recently I was on a walk at the park with my walking partner (hopefully she remembers me....it's been awhile :) and we were talking about parenting styles...and marriage! 

This is a topic I am so very interested in as it seems a difference in parenting styles could just be a breeding ground for disagreements between a husband and a wife.  Have you experienced this?  Are we in for a big surprise when we have kids?  I think Danny and I are on the same page with things.  But I'm still curious, what are the hot spots that came up when you had kids?  I'd love to hear.  I'm sure there are so many things we haven't thought of...  

(This photo make me melt.  These are some of our favorite Brooklyn kids.  One Sunday Danny was a substitute teacher in the nursery class.) 

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32 comments:

  1. I have spent the past week reading your ENTIRE blog from start to finish! I have loved every minute of it. My husband thought I was nuts until I started reading him some of my favorite posts & his comment was, "Wow. That is so cool that they are willing to do something like this...". I couldn't agree more.
    In the past week, our prayers have changed, our language to one another & our children shines with more love & light. It's incredible. It's the pure love of Christ. It makes me want to reach out to everyone & help & love them. So, a million times THANK YOU BOTH! I've already done a post about YOUR blog on mine. :) I'm trying to spread the word, because it has brought me so much happiness. http://www.thetribesofclegg.blogspot.com/2012/05/revised-post-with-disclaimer.html

    You and Danny will make wonderful parents!! I don't think you need to worry too much about parenting styles...A few years ago when my husband and I were struggling with infertility, we discussed everything from spanking to curfews & found that we were on the same page. The important thing is to be consistant, parent with love and help from Heavenly Father & to be a team- and make sure your kiddos know it! And your style may change from child-to-child. Our 4yr old has an Autism Spectrum disorder & so our approach with him is different than what it is with our other 2 boys.

    Phew! After the novel I just wrote, I am off to bed! My little crazies will be up in a few short hours...and that's OK! Because even thougth I will be pretty tired tomorrow, I can CHOOSE TO BE HAPPY! :) haha!
    Love to you & Danny.

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  2. My husband grew up as the oldest of 11 and was raised in the Church. I am an only child and was baptized when I was 16. My parents still are not members. So we have very different ideas of how to parent our twins.
    Basically it comes down to me wanting to be all "churchy" and he wants the opposite because his parents were too strict and he doesn't want to be like that. haha But it's actually ok because we just talk about different issues once they come up.

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  3. Oh my, you guys are gonna be wonderful parents!! You are on the same page and I'm sure your talking about it now, so it sounds like your setting yourselves up for success. Occasionally you will find a few irks, but very rarely-and then you come to a compromise and move on. That's how it is for my hubby and I. A
    Our parents are converts to the church- for him when he was a baby-for me when I turned 7. However that's about a they have in common. Both sets of parents raised their kids in the gospel, yet had very different parenting styles. So we have had many discussion about this before having our own girls. We picked the best of both parents. Good luck! And I am soo excited for you two! You will be AWESOME parents!!

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  4. I think issues arise when people are doing the exact opposite of what you write about here on the blog. You'll be great! :)

    The biggest thing I've learned since having a baby is that you can't both be frustrated with the baby at the same time. One has to be level-headed. Or at least pretend for the other person. :) Otherwise you'll both go crazy and want to run out the door! haha!

    You'll be awesome parents! That picture is so cute of Danny and all the kids, too!

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  5. One thing I've learned and am trying to put into practice more is that differences in opinion most likely will arise (I've found that to be truer the older my children get- oldest is 10 now), but that you have to just bite your tongue in moment. Later, if you still feel strongly about it, you can talk about it. But I think each parent has their strengths and weaknesses, and if you focus on the strengths of your spouse, your kids will to, and they'll wind up getting the best of both parents. My husband is AMAZING at not pointing out my parenting weaknesses, and I'm still working on getting up to his level!

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  6. I think we are all raised differently so we're bound to have different thoughts on parenting. But as long as you sit down and decide what will work and what won't (or shouldn't be done) work, you'll be ahead of others by far. I know my thoughts and style of parenting completely changed after I had my son. His dad and I have since then divorced but we are actively working to get along and set the same rules down for our son. "Divorce" makes it even harder.
    I think you two have a great foundation under your feet and you'll be amazing at it!!

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  7. My husband and I have never had an issue thus far. He usually lets me take the lead and then backs me up:) I am sure that if he thought I was being ridiculous he would let me know! Like so many of the big things in life it is really hard to establish what our own parent styles are going to be until we are parents. There are so many things I thought I wouldn't do and have or things I thought I would that I haven't. The biggest thing that I have learned about parenting, since becoming one, is that every child is different and so for each of our children we have really had to adapt our parenting styles to fit their personalities. The only thing that I would say is universal is love them and compromise! I mean like over the top love; there are moments that will be really hard and that's when we need to dig deep and love them the most. Listen and validated their feelings and opinions. We have found this to be so true in our home with our children!

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  8. My boyfriend and I don't have children yet (we're almost 27 but both know we want to start trying by the time we're 30), but we constantly talk about how we want to raise our children. From talking about how we were raised, the high points and the low points, to the future we envision for our unborn children - we are constantly talking through it. I think that here, as with almost every other place, communication is key.

    I have no doubt that you and Danny will be wonderful parents - allowing them to grow up at their own pace and guiding them through life in the best possible way. You are both in my thoughts and prayers!

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  9. I agree with everyone, that you will be wonderful. I have no doubt. As you apply what you do in marriage to your children, they will grow up knowing they are loved and be kind and loving themselves because of your examples. I think consistency is very important. If you say you are going to do something, or not do something, then stick to it!I have seen so many parents who threaten a naughty behavior with "if you do that again, we will leave " ... If you don't want to leave the park because you are enjoying yourself, then don't use that threat. Tell them something you can commit to like, "if you do that again, you will need to sit by me for a timeout". Also, don't sweat the small stuff! And when faced with challenging things like potty training and getting babies and toddlers to sleep through the night, know that everyone does eventually sleep, eat, poop, and get in their carseats themselves... and then you have teenagers!!! Love you guys

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  10. Honestly, my husband and i argue the most about parenting. Not that it's a whole lot cuz really we are good partners. We have the same style of patenting its just there are slight differences. When it comes to your own there are just some issues you can't seem to always agree on. Disciplining seems to fall more on us moms.:( and whenever my husband changed or baths or plays with our 2 children there is always so much wreckage that I need to tidy up...this drives me nuts!:)

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  11. I have no parenting experience yet, but I think you can practice now. I look back to when I was dating/engaged to my husband and all the preparation we did by talking though our differences and expectations. I think you can do the same with parenting. Also, marriage is good practice- I try not to complain when my husband cleans or cooks differently then me etc, but if something big comes up then we talk about it.

    I think you can just see the way you are both so wonderful with kids and expect to make fabulous parents :)

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  12. My husband and I are about to have our first

    (sidenote: A funny older gentleman in church asked me if we were excited, and I said, "Yes! But we have no idea what we're doing!" He replied, "Well, we know what you did..." It was hysterical)

    We were raised in the same faith, but by VERY different parents. My home was much more structured, and his was more about "make the choices you want, and bear the consequences", so in discussing tactics we have disagreed a few times.

    I don't want to allow sleepovers, he things we should. I want to have an allowance of time for television and gaming that kids can use as they wish, and when its up, its up! He thinks that is too controlling, and the kids will go crazy when they are at friends homes, or when they are old enough to leave. We still haven't figured it out.

    The main thing is, we disagree, but we have never fought about it. I am so lucky that my husband told me withing a few weeks of dating that it was his goal for us to never have a fight, and we haven't. When we couldn't agree in that moment, we simply agreed never to disagree in front of our kids, and to never get over-heated about it.

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  13. I didn't think we would disagree so much on circumcision, but it's been a hot topic. We typically don't disagree, but when this came up, he was adamant.

    So when I took a moment to think - why is he reacting this way? The picture becomes clear - he knew someone that was made fun of for not being circumcised. And he was one of the kids that made fun. Ok, so I get where he's coming from.

    But, still.

    Anyway, it's a good lesson in stepping back to the "why"? Where is the reaction coming from and how can we heal each other through our love to get to what is best for our child? Our past should only encourage the future, not hold it back.

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  14. I find in parenting a boy that my husband and I sometimes differ on what is "babying" our son (he sometimes thinks I baby our son whereas I sometimes think he is too hard on him). I have a distinct desire to help my son learn how to name and express emotion and also to acknowledge how he is feeling, particularly if the expression is one that society deems "feminine" or somehow less appropriate for him to express, in an effort to raise a feeling, caring, sensitive and kind young man. I am often told, not just by my husband, that I coddle my son. I strongly disagree with this statement. I watch mothers of girls react to their girls' emotions and expressions in ways similar to how I react to my son's and I rarely hear commentary on that. I admit to loathing this idea that we need to "toughen up" boys by somehow ignoring emotions they express that aren't traditionally masculine and I find that this is really one of the only ways my husband and I ever differ in our parenting styles. My husband by no means doesn't let my son express feeling but he tends to react more negatively to crying and whining than I do. I think we are running into this a bit more lately b/c we are experiencing our son at four as being quite emotional and many parents tell me that four is an emotional age.

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  15. My husband and I usually agree about everything when it comes to parenting. Then again, we usually agree on everything (married 12 years), we're very similar. I'm home with three young children 4 and under. I think the main thing that I appreciate the most is that he's a hands-on parent. I love this new generation of fathers who are truly equal parents in every way. It's wonderful for the children and especially the wife. You think it's sexy when your husband does the dishes without asking? Try changing a diaper! Or reading bedtime stories! Swoon! =)

    We were married for several years before we had children, we talked a big game of things we would never do and pretty much ate all of our words. So be flexible, you'll grow together, try things and realize what works for your family.

    In the beginning, sleep is tough on everyone. And when you're tired you can be grumpy and irritable. So we are quick to apologize and also to trade things off. We take turns letting each other sleep in and giving ourselves alone time. It's wonderful.

    I felt supported as a wife (before I was a mother), when it came to my own decisions and paths. You discuss the big stuff and work it out together. It's the same thing with being a parent. Be a united front. If one parents says something, it should stand.

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  16. If there was one thing that surprised me about having kids, it wasn't how much my husband and I differ (not too much) but how much I have changed in what I thought I wanted to be/do as a mother and in what I actually do. Like Michelle said above, you can talk a big game before you're a parent, but when you actually become one it's just a different ball game. Things I thought I'd NEVER do...I did. Some for better, some for worse. I try to have compassion for myself and remember that it's not easy. In my case, my husband has far more patience than I do... so I rarely have any criticisms when it comes to him and the kids (except for feeding them dessert for dinner....no wonder he's their fav.)

    Also, there are things well beyond your control that may come into play in those early months like post-partum depression, that really affect how you parent. I know attachment parenting is the new cool thing--and in all seriousness I admire parents who practice it--but with PPD, there was no way I could have done some of those things. I was mentally incapable. So I think be prepared to be surprised. Of course you'll be great parents, but it's a steep learning curve.

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  17. My parenting style is different than I thought it would be - but it works well with my son. My husband and I are on the same page. Basically, we don't subscribe to any specific philosophy. We've read dozens of books, taken it all in and we go with what feels right based on intuition and inspiration. We loved "Brain Rules for Babies" by Dr. David Medina. It's all about love, nuture and modeling behavior for your child. And all of it is based on scientifically confirmed and replicated studies. More than anything though, we decided that we would incorporated our baby into our family and not make our marriage focused soley on our baby, if that makes sense. I want my marriage and partnership with my husband to be first and foremost and not lose that in the chaos of raising children. As fun, wonderful and challenging as that chaos may be.
    On an side note, the Brain Rules book mentions disagreement between spouses in front of children. It seems to actually be healthy as long as you resolve your disagreements with kindness and respect in front of your children. It teaches your children how to do this in their own lives, at school, with their friends, etc. My own parents never disagreed in front of me and it was a struggle for me to learn how to resolve conflict as a teenager and young adult in part because it was never modeled for me. But with that said, it's probably best not to disagree about discipline and the act of parenting in front of a child. Those little smarties will sense any weakness and exploit it! :) ha ha!

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    1. I just put that book on hold at the library. Thanks for the suggestion. I fully agree with the idea of doing what feels right based on inspiration as well as keeping your marriage alive and strong amidst the chaos.

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  18. Becoming parents takes you from "playmates" to "coworkers". Beware of feeling like the other person isn't pulling their weight when it comes to taking care of the needs - MANY NEEDS - of a helpless infant!

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  19. Watching my husband become a father, getting to see him love our children and be their dad--it overwhelms me every single day. The answer to this question is simple for me, but I don't think I realized it until after I had children: I chose this man to be mine because I wanted him to be my children's father. He loves us so well. There is no talk of different parenting styles, or how to raise our children in x, y, or z ways. We are the family we were meant to be. We inspire one another to be better people, and our sweet children (we have three)--they teach us every day how to be their parents.

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  20. My husband and I try to be intentional about how we parent and we both tend to have strong opinions, so yes, it has brought conflict at times. Our approach has kind of evolved over the past four years as parents (we now have three little girls). Before we began this journey, I thought I had a clear vision of how I wanted to parent. We used time outs and praise, for example. When I read, Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kohn, it opened my eyes to an entirely different approach without rewards or punishments. My husband and I now try to focus on building the relationship rather than seeking perfect behavior or control. It can be really hard at times. It pushes us to solve challenges creatively. We still have expectations for them but we focus on teaching good principles rather than forcing certain behavior. We hope this will lead them to internalize good values and principles for themselves. We also try to set the best example we can. I think who we are will really influence our children more than any specific approach we take. I kind of wish we had this vision at the beginning but I am also grateful for all we have learned from the process. I am sure our journey ahead may also be very different than I anticipate. We will simply learn and grow together as we go and try to do our best. Really, it's all about love, right?

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  21. First of all, thank you so much for your inspiring words at the class last night, my husband and I talked for quite a while afterwards deciding how to put to use all of our new knowledge! You two are incredible!
    In terms of parenting, we got pregnant right after we got married and had to figure out the parenting things we wanted on the fly. I came from a background with lots of work with children, I was one of seven kids, I worked at a daycare and preschool, I had taken many child development classes, and I babysat when I was considerably younger. My husband, on the other hand, was an only child in China and had lived his whole life with almost no time around babies and tots. Everything our daughter does is profound to him because he honestly just doesn't know what to expect. For the first year he kind of just let me run things and did what I asked but as she has gotten older I've been pleased to see that he has started taking a more active role and started suggesting parenting ideas. He recognizes that I have more experience and so he generally just accepts what I choose but when something is important to him I generally let him make the decision.
    There are going to be lots of people with lots of advice, often unsolicited, but I find that often it is best to just go with what you feel is right for you and your family. Children are so very different and so are parents, there isn't one solution that magically works for every family. Take in the information, sort through it, and use what works best for you.
    The two of you are going to be incredible parents, I have no doubt about it.

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  22. After 29 years of experience, I think some of the most important things in parenting are:
    1.Consistency, so a child knows what to expect.
    2.Back each other up - the good cop/bad cop scenario confuses children and teaches them that one parent can be manipulated against the other.
    3.Maintain a strong adult/child relationship so they don't take control of the house, but never have the attitude that you are better than your child.
    4.Don't be afraid of showing them too much love: "Every child should spend a substantial amount of time with somebody who’s crazy about him or her... There has to be at least one person who has an irrational involvement with that child, someone who thinks that kid is more important than other people’s kids, someone who’s in love with him or her, and whom he or she loves in return." --Urie Bronfenbrenner
    I've regretted withholding my love or approval sometimes, but never regretted the hours spent holding them, reading to them, going on walks with them...

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  23. Disagreement is usually only a problem when you expect that you should agree on certain issues. Life will bring us all parents the following ironies, each as bitter and delicious as key lime; you'll insist on some non-negociable only to find out later your spouse was right; your child will have a problem directly related to something it never even occurred to you to argue about; your child's warmest memories of their life with you will come from something you did without even thinking about it.
    Enjoy the journey, expect to get lost a few times along the way.

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  24. I was just discussing this with my sister (she's getting married in two weeks) and suggested they take the RELATE test from BYU. My husband and I did while we were engaged and it was incredibly thought provoking for both of us - taking the test, then reading our individual results and seeing the difference between us. We're thinking we'll take it again as we approach our 12 year anniversary, we're curious how our answers may have changed!

    I think it's great for couples at whatever stage of their journey, and it provoked a lot of discussions about how we were raised, what we wanted for our family, differences in our parenting and marriage views, etc. If you've not already checked it out you should!

    https://www.relate-institute.org/

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    1. So I answered all of the questions which took A LOT of time just to find out you have to pay($20). I thought I would warn others. It seems like a great site but it does cost. :(

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  25. My husband and I are both LDS and we have been married 20 years. I think the hardest parenting comes when you have teenagers. We have basically been on the same page for years and now we are suddenly seeing many differences! We always have to make sure that we appear united to our teenagers, and then we respectfully discuss our thoughts in private. Let me tell you that I have learned many wonderful things from these private discussions and he has too. I am not always right and neither is he. I'm so glad we have each other to bounce ideas off because it's hard to see straight when you're dealing with teenagers;). The good news is there is usually one of us that can!

    One really important thing we try to do is ALWAYS stop a child of any age from talking disrespectfully to the other parent. For example, if one of my kids says something disrespectful to me my husband will say, "Please don't talk to your mother that way... and if you can't be respectful to her then the discussion ends now.". Works like a charm.
    This shows our kids that we hold the other partner in high esteem and we won't allow anyone to treat them in a way that would hurt them.

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  26. We always disagreed on how to discipline our kids. Our parents did things very differently, so we had a different idea of what was best. Do we spank? Do we let them trade out one form of punishment for another? Do we allow talking back (I totally do - I like to call it "negotiating")? We agreed on the general things, but not the specifics. That was more stressful than I thought it should have been.

    Also, Rob hated that I allowed my kids to choose how much they wanted to eat. Sometimes kids eat nearly nothing for a while, and he'd come home and grill me on what the kids ate. It made me want to cry - I felt like he saw me as an incapable mother, where I just thought it wasn't a big deal. Kids eat when they're hungry, you know? We came up with a rule: He couldn't ask me what the kids ate during the day, and I couldn't think he was doubting me. (Important side note: Our kids survived.)

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  27. I think that how a couple approaches their marriage, and how the treat their marriage and their spouse, usually is similar to how they approach parenting and how they treat their children. If your marriage is built on deep respect and love, patience, hard work, dedication, etc., having children (in my experience anyway) is like an extension of that love and respect. Children feel safe in that kind of environment and thrive when they feel secure in their parents' love for them and for each other. Parenting adds stress to a marriage, but I've found (in my mere 2 years of parenting) that having children has only magnified what we had before. We had a happy, strong, thriving marriage before, and it's only gotten better. (Conversely, if you have an unhappy marriage, I think having children magnifies that as well.) It is the coolest thing to bond with your spouse through the love that you have for your children. He is the only one in the world who loves your children as much as you do, you have an endless supply of laughter (children are so fun!), and new inside jokes and memories. It's wonderful, and you two will be wonderful parents!

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  28. There a few things I've learned along the way...here they are:

    1) Human beings are cooperative breeders. We, and by "we" I mean women, are not meant to raise children in isolation. The "traditional" paradigm of the suburban mama stuck in the house with her children for 12 hours per day is NOT normal and NOT healthy. Ask for help from family, make your husband step up and yes, pay for help! Four hours per week of baby-sitting can be a blessing, having a husband who will take over one feeding a night can be a life-saver. Ask for help, LOTS of help. It does not make you a bad mother!

    2) Be not afraid of the freak-outs and public scenes...both yours and your children's. You will leave the house in a mess, the kids will act up and test boundaries...parent them anyway. If you become afraid of the meltdowns, you will be paralyzed and ineffective. Remember that every single person who rolls their eyes at you has done something at least as embarrassing in the last 365 days, pull yourself together and parent with a clear, strong voice (literally and metaphorically).

    3) You are raising a wild animal, not a pet. Your child must learn SO much to make his/her way in the world...don't allow yourself to do things for them because it's faster or easier or (see above) less embarrassing. You will not be helping them! Allow natural consequences where possible and reasonably safe to do so. (Don't want to eat? Okay, but your next meal is in three hours. Don't want to wear a coat on a cold day? Sure, but I want you to pack your coat into your backpack in case you change your mind. Want to jump off a building? NO.) Teach them to be capable people, people with ideas, tools and integrity for making the world a better place. The other side of this is to remember that you can't just fall into the identity of "mother" as the expense of your former self. The little ones will eventually be grown and gone, and you must make your way as well. Neglect the creative wilds of yourself, and your relationship with your spouse will suffer...and you will be miserable.

    4) Love, love and acceptance. Lots of both. For everyone, including yourself.

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  29. who wouldn't melt over that picture. you two are as good as they come.

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  30. I have been reading the most fabulous parenting book. It is Kids are Worth It by Barbara Coloroso. If only every parent would read it. My oldest is thirteen and I wish I had been given this from the start. Parenting styles do matter. A lot. Please everyone read this book.

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