Unhealthy Competition Over Parenting

by Maxine
Posted August 19 2010 12:40pm
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All babies are unique and each parent’s relationship with their child is unique.

As parents, you both want and need to have a special role in parenting your baby. So, what happens if you feel an unhealthy competition with each other? This can happen if you attempt to control things like:

  • How much time each of you spends with your baby
  • How and when your baby is cared for
  • How you each play with and stimulate your baby
  • How each of you parent your baby

“Whatever the reason for competition between parents, children who see their parents arguing are more likely to develop problems as they get older,” warns Palmina Ioannone, a Child Development expert at Hincks Dellcrest. “They may relate poorly to others and become overly aggressive. As parents, you each want to have a special role with your baby, but make sure you don’t fall into an unhealthy competition with each other.”

Avoiding Competition
So, how can parents avoid unhealthy competition when it comes to parenting your baby? Our experts suggest the following:

Recognize that no two parents have identical parenting styles—and this is good.
When it comes to Comfort, Play & Teach, you don't have to be equally good at all three. One of you may be better at Comfort and Teach, the other at Play.
When it comes to Positive Parenting, one of you may be more flexible; the other—more consistent and predictable. No parent can be perfect. An important part of Positive Parenting is to know yourself—and by extension, your partner—and to value what each of you brings to the parenting of your child. Link to Positive Parenting articles.

Take time together to plan parenting strategies.

Avoid making assumptions about the way your child should be parented without first discussing the issue with each other. It is easy to fall into the trap of assuming that your partner agrees with your approach. And guess what? They might not. Unhealthy competition can rear its ugly head when you barge ahead without discussing your parenting strategies with one another.

Be willing to compromise.
Yes, differences of opinion are natural. However, when you try to see your partner's point of view, it can go a long way towards avoiding unhealthy competition.

Divide your parenting according to your strengths, time and energy.
Another strategy of Positive Parenting is to know each of your strengths and limitations and to then build your parenting strategies around them. Many of you will move toward a family style where one of you will spend the most time and energy with your young baby. But both of you have strengths! The parent who spends less time is still a critical member of the parenting team. Build on each other's strengths, regardless of how much time either has to spend with your baby.

For even more tips check out our article on Avoiding Competition.

Do you and your partner ever find yourself competing? How do you manage? What strategies have you developed? Leave a comment and share your story below.


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My Parenting

by Maxine
Posted August 19 2010 04:24pm
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To bring Positive Parenting into action, each of you need to reflect on your own abilities and strengths for parenting. This is key information to help you support each other in becoming the parents you want to be.

Don’t worry—you don’t have to be perfect! Not every parent is terrific in every aspect of being a Positive Parent. But it is important for you to know your positive strengths, as well as the areas you hope to improve. The ideal situation is for your partner to balance you out in the areas that are the most challenging for you. If you are both a little short in the same area, it’s a good idea to bring other caring adults into your child’s life. People like grandparents, aunts and uncles, nannies and daycare providers can offer a wider base of positivity.

How’s Your Parenting?

To help you reflect on your strengths and abilities as a Positive Parent, rate yourself and your partner on the characteristics found in the worksheet below. After you’ve completed your assessments, discuss the ratings you gave yourselves and each other. Talk about the reasons why you gave the ratings you did. Share your hopes for how you want to be a Positive Parent.

Download the My Parenting Worksheet (PDF)

Try to have each parent of your child complete this worksheet.  Sharing your ratings with one another is a good way to start talking about the kind of parenting each of you wants to provide for your child.

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Mom and Dad Differences in Parenting

by Maxine
Posted August 20 2010 07:13pm
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He likes football; she likes dancing.
He sees the colour green; she sees chartreuse.
He goes to bed early; she stays up late.

Let’s face it! Men and women are different. And generally, moms and dads approach parenting differently—not better or worse, just differently. If these differences are used sensibly, they can be good for children.

Remember, you’re part of a parenting team. Just like any strong team, you need to understand each other’s differences.  Researchers have noted some very interesting differences between the way moms and dads tend to parent. If you’re aware of the different parenting tendencies between males and females, it may help you explain your partner’s parenting a bit more.  You can use your differences to your child’s advantage and to yours.

The experts at Invest in Kids have put together a short quiz to test you on the typical differences in parenting. You may, of course, find that in your particular family some or all of the gender roles are reversed.  No problem!  Children grow up just fine, as long as they experience positive parenting overall.

Download the Mom and Dad’s Parenting Tendencies Quiz (PDF).

Are these differences ones that you’ve experienced in your relationship with your partner? Do your parenting styles mesh well together? Leave a comment below and share your experience with parents just like you!

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Parenting as a Team

by Maxine
Posted May 10 2011 02:46pm
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Before your baby was born, each of you had special dreams and visions, along with worries and fears. Now that your baby is here, it’s time to revisit your earlier thoughts and see where things stand now. The reality for most parents is that these dreams often change as your baby grows and as you move through the transitions of early parenthood.  

Download the Parenting as a Team Worksheet (PDF).

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