People raise their kids many different ways. And I think that’s one of the beauties of parenthood—do whatever the fuck you want for your kids, and no one should be able to tell you otherwise.
However, many people find conflict within their own household if their partner has a different parenting style than them. Well, as you all know, Garrett and I are young parents and very different people in how we handle various situations. Here’s how our different parenting styles meld together as we raise our rambunctious son, Kai.
Garrett as a Dad
My husband, Garrett, is a fun dad. He loves to kid and joke around with Kai. That’s the reason Kai is such a goofy little fellow himself. He takes up after his dad, always wanting to make people laugh and see them smile. Garrett and Kai spend their time together trying to have fun—in a sometimes rowdy way. Some of Kai’s favorite games with Daddy include Ninja (running around the house with Naruto arms, trying to evade attacks) and Wrestling (Daddy body-slamming Kai into the couch and Kai trying to fight back). Only when they’re tired of roughhousing do they sit down, and Kai watches Garrett play his games online.
(Roughhousing? Who am I, my grandmother??)
But, don’t be mistaken—Garrett don’t play when it’s time to get serious, and Kai knows that. Garrett holds Kai to high expectations, so much to the point that Kai constantly looks to his dad for approval. He wants to impress Daddy, so he’s always saying, “Watch this,” and showing us his latest Lego creations. Garrett refuses to baby Kai. He uses his stern Dad Voice to let Kai know daddy means business.
Garrett’s parenting style:
He’s a strong support system and playmate for Kai, but at the same time, he’s a viable authoritative figure whom Kai looks up to and respects.
Angie as a Mom
While Garrett is often an exciting playmate for Kai, I am often an educator and confidant. I do not like playing rough, (and because I know it makes me nervous, I’ve given up trying to pretend I can be that wrestling/tickling mom). So, when Kai and I spend time together, it’s usually revolved around learning and crafts: Legos, reading a book, doing homework, or watching YouTube videos of people baking. How to Cake It is one of our faves.
But, like Garrett, I also have high expectations for Kai. I expect him to do chores and act his age. Right now, I’m trying to get him involved in taking better care of himself, like remembering to brush his own hair or put lotion on his legs when he wears shorts. And, the second he can reach the sink, he’ll be doing dishes.
However, I am less stern than Garrett. I’m an emotional mom. Yes, I let him cry. I teach him breathing techniques when he feels upset. I understand the emotional side of things, so I’m more empathetic about those things. And, I tend to lose patience and get annoyed a tad easier than Garrett does.
My parenting style:
I am an emotional mom, but I’m working on being more stern when it comes to teaching him responsibilities.
The Perfect Combo
Our different parenting styles balance each other out. Garrett and I have worked hard to make that happen, though. We have to talk a lot about how we want our parenting to go.
We discuss a lot of random scenarios that could happen, just to start planning what we would do in said situation. The last thing you want is for your kid to do something outlandish, and the two of you have completely different reactions. In this situation, the kid will be confused, you two may start arguing about the way you’d handle the situation—you get it.
So here’s how our lives as parents go: because we both have high expectations for our child, we pretty much handle things like homework in the same way. We help him through things he doesn’t understand, and we can both read through the bullshit when he says, “I don’t know how to do it!” We respond sternly, “Kai, we went over this, and you can do it.”
Garrett and I both love our son, who is a perfect balance of our two personalities. So, we each love him in different ways—all of which Kai appreciates and reciprocates. Our parenting styles are never perfect. Sometimes, Garrett can be too hard on him, and I can often be impatient and overly emotional. But, we’re still learning. Surely, we’ll continue figuring this stuff out as we go—I can’t even imagine what our parenting styles will look like when Kai’s in middle school!
At the end of the day, when you parent a child with another person, it’s all about communication. There are many parents out there who have a co-parenting relationship with their ex and still have to find a way to be in each other’s lives to raise that kid. Talk to each other. Plan out how you’ll handle situations before that situation occurs. Make compromises.
And most of all, do what YOU think is best for your little one.
Just for fun, take this parenting styles quiz, and let me know what you get. I’m authoritative, specific, and strict.