When You and Your Husband Disagree on Parenting

🌺 Published by Brittany Ann

 When You and Your Husband Disagree on ParentingPinWhether it’s how late the kids can stay up on a school night, how much junk food the kids should eat on the weekends or what type of discipline the kids should receive when they are acting up, chances are you and your husband don’t agree on everything all of the time.

The good news is – this is normal and healthy! You wouldn’t want to marry a carbon copy of yourself. (At least, I know I sure wouldn’t!)

And when you combine two parents with two different parenting styles, you can take the best of both worlds and create a system that truly works well for your family.

The bad news, of course, is that no one enjoys arguing with a spouse over parenting – especially when you aren’t getting your way! 🙂

 

Are there any issues (large or small) that you and your husband find yourself constantly disagreeing over? Here’s how to solve them once and for all.

 

 

 

1. Accept Your Differences

 

First of all, accept that your husband is not you. He’s a unique individual with a unique perspective and a life experience that is different than yours. When you disagree, it does not mean that one of you is “wrong” and one is “right.” It just means that you are different, and that’s good!

If you prefer organic foods while he prefers boxed mac and cheese, that’s okay. If you prefer to play educational games with the kids and he lets them play obnoxious video games, that’s okay too.

 

2. Let Go of the Little Things

 

Apparently my high school English teacher and her husband divorced because he bought the wrong kind of butter. That’s what she told us anyways. I thought it was the most ridiculous thing at the time, but now I understand (kind of).

When you’re married, it’s SO easy to let the little things turn into big things and think that “If this little thing happens, that means these huge horrible things are going to happen down the road!”

Relax. Take a breath. Assess the situation. Is it really that big of a deal? If not, then just let it go.

Don’t let the pursuit of giving your kids the “perfect” childhood get in the way of giving them a really, really good childhood.

 

3. Seek Understanding on the Big Things

 

Of course, there are some things that are worth fighting for. But that doesn’t mean you just want to fight all the time. Instead, sit down calmly, as adults, and seek to understand each others’ perspectives.

What is it you and your spouse are REALLY concerned about? What beliefs or life experiences from your past are leading you to feel this way? Is the whole issue the problem, or just part of it? Are you objecting to the entirety of the other’s ideas or just a specific piece?

This also includes avoiding jumping to conclusions or using statements like “you always” or “you never.” Don’t assume what your spouse wants. Listen and find out.

 

4. Respect Each Others’ Concerns

 

Whether or not you agree with everything your husband thinks and believes, the fact is that you do have an obligation to respect him and his concerns. This doesn’t mean you always agree or do things his way, but it does mean that you take the time to fully listen to him and try to understand and appreciate where he is coming from before you make a decision together.

Personally, whenever my husband and I disagree on things, I just remind myself, “He is a great dad. He loves our kids just as much as I do and we both only want what’s best for them.” And once I keep that in mind, his ideas don’t seem so terrible after all.

 

5. Remain a Team

 

Speaking of which, it’s important to remember – it shouldn’t be your way versus his way. You’re on the same team! It should be “Okay, we BOTH wants best for the kids. How can we, as a team, find a solution that is best for everyone?”

Everyone wins or no one wins. You’re all in this together.

 

6. Brainstorm Solutions Together

 

And the good news is, once you decide you’re on the same team, it becomes MUCH easier to brainstorm a solution you both will love.

My husband and I actually had to have a discussion like this right before Christmas. There was a toy he really wanted to get the kids that I was dead set against. So we sat down and talked about it.

(And by this, I mean there may or may not have been tears and yelling… it was a long day and we were both overdue for a bedtime at this point–not late night Christmas shopping online. Happens to the best of us.) 

The next day, once we had both calmed down, we were better able to appreciate each other’s concerns and to find a different toy that provided the same benefit he really wanted for our kids without the aspect of it that I was so opposed to. We were both happy, and our kids love it. Problem solved.

 

7. Stand United

 

Okay, this is a big one. No matter which way you and your husband decide (or even if you have yet to come to a decision together), you HAVE to present a united front to the kids.

This doesn’t mean that you always have to plaster on a fake, smiley face and never let your kids see any of your problems. (Your kids SHOULD see you, as parents, working through your problems as loving adults – it’s how they learn to do the same.) But it does mean that you always, always, always support each other and back each other up. 

Never, ever tear down your spouse to your children or undermine his authority when he is not around. Do not question him and argue with him in front of the kids. Assuming that no one is in imminent danger, let it go for now and then revisit the topic later, privately, after the kids have gone to bed.

 

8. Set Up “Tie Breaker” Rules

 

Of course, there will always be times when you disagree. So how do you decide who wins? This is when it’s helpful to have “tie breaker” rules.

 

In our home, we have the unspoken policy of “whoever said it first.” If I’ve already told my kids to get in their pajamas and they go ask their dad to stay up late, he will defer to me. If he’s already told the kids they can have boxed macaroni and cheese for lunch even though I was planning on making something with actual nutritional value, I defer to him.

Oftentimes, my husband won’t even answer the kids’ questions until he’s checked in with me first, especially if he’s just getting home and I’ve been home all day. He’ll ask them “What did mom say?” or he’ll ask me “What do you think?” or “Were they good today?” This helps keep us on the same page, even when one of us is just getting in.

 

Other rules/loose guidelines you could set include: 

  • Whoever feels the most strongly about the issue gets their way
  • Mom decides on weeknights; dad decides on weekends
  • Mom decides on some topics; dad decides on others
  • Mom gets the final say, since she’s with the kids more
  • Dad gets the final say, since he’s the man of the house
  • Whatever works for you!

 

Honestly, though, this isn’t a problem we have too often. Usually, after we talk about things, we decide the issue truly isn’t THAT big of a deal, and we both let each other win part of the time. Life’s much easier that way.

 

What issues do you and your husband always find yourself disagreeing over? How do you solve them? 

 

Brittany Ann

Brittany Ann is an author, speaker, and founder of EquippingGodlyWomen.com, a popular Christian-living website dedicated to helping women be “all in” in faith and family.

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  1. One of the things my husband and I argue is that I disagree him eating the last spoonful of our son’s food when he feeds him. It’s not a good habit for the kid and also the kid will learn that it is okay to not finish the food, and dad can finish it for him. when I told him to not do it and explain why we should not, he is just quiet , so I take it as he is OK. but then the next day I see him do it again and I became upset.
    The other thing I disagree is that my husband like to use adult Qtips to clean the kids’s ear and it is not safe. I was upset and I threw our qtip box (so he has only kids Qtip to use) but then after a while, when we bought qtips for us, he again use the adult qtip for the kids and it s driving me crazy.

    1. I’m sorry to tell you, but I’m actually going to have to agree with your husband on this. Your husband is not a child, and he doesn’t need you to tell him not to eat a bite of your son’s food. You are your son’s parent, but you are not your husband’s parent, and you don’t get to tell him what to do. He is a grown man capable of making his own decisions, even if you disagree.

      The reason he is quiet (I am assuming since I don’t know him, but I am married to someone who does the same thing) is NOT because he agrees, but because he doesn’t want to start a fight over something so silly. So he just ignores your reprimands to keep the peace, and continues on his way.

      And using adult q-tips on a little one isn’t the end of the world either, as long as he is being careful, and if he is a grown man who loves his children, you can safely assume that he is. I also use grown up q-tips on my children all the time. All three are living to tell about it. If it truly bothers you, you could be very diligent about cleaning your children’s ears yourself before he gets a chance to, otherwise, it really is not worth a fight.

      Please know my intention is not to be rude or mean. And trust me when I say I have done the SAME thing in my marriage plenty of times myself! But one thing I have learned is that a good relationship with your husband is WAY WAY more important than worrying about little things that truly don’t make a difference, and if you insist that he does everything YOUR way, then it won’t be long until he doesn’t help out much at all because his ways is always wrong anyways, so why not just let you do things your way (and trust me, this is NOT what you want).

      He’s a dad too, and probably a good one. If you want him to be a good dad, you have to step back and let him. Relax, trust him, and let him do things his way.

      I used to think I knew more than my husband did too, since I read all the books and was the one with the kids allllll day while he was at work. But once I stopped worrying about the little things and just let him do things his way (even when I thought my way made so much more sense), I realized he had just as many good ideas as I did, and he deserved the chance to figure things out for himself as well.

      Hope you take this to heart and find it helpful. <3 <3

  2. I am struggling right now so maybe someone reading this can shine some light on what I might be able to try. We disagree on how we discuss and handle situations with our kids. Our oldest is 8 and he is struggling at school. My husband yells and belittles him and rakes him over the coals about a bad grade which upsets my son and makes him cry and feel worse. He has low self esteem and always says he is stupid or he can’t do something. I try to be encouraging and express my concern and my husband says I baby him. I just don’t agree with making our kid feel worse…we try to talk about it but it turns into a huge fight and nothing ever changes. Any thoughts or suggestions? My heart hurts for my son and I hate being at odds with my husband. If nothing else prayers are appreciated in this struggle. Thanks.

    1. I have the same problem with my husband my son is 16,to be honest the only solution i found which made him shout less but he didnt stop lol is me twisting my face and making his life miserable everytime he does it lol that took a while but now he thinks twice before shouting for no good reason.worst part about my situation is he does the opposite with my daughter he spoils her and never once shouted at her she is 12 i dont like it because i dont think its fair.

  3. Any advice would be greatly appreciate! My husband and I disagree on parenting almost right down to the core. He basically thinks that our kids 5, 2 and 5 months, should do whatever they want. Our five year old just started kindergarten in September and my husband thinks it’s totally fine for him to stay up until 10 or 11 o’ clock on a school night. He thinks they should eat junk food all hours of the day and he completely undermines me when I had made a decision with our kids. He puts me down in front of our kids and starts arguments while they are all around and watching. As a mom of three I am exhausted and after much research I know the benefits of our kids getting enough sleep, never mind that it gives me a chance to relax and remain refreshed for the next day. I feel like by the time he gets home, he wants to unwind and relax from his busy stressful day, then it’s bedtime and he wants his way and doesn’t want to discipline the kids when they misbehave, he just wants to be the fun parent, then there is a serious bedtime struggle as I want them to go to bed at a descent hour and he says they can stay up and of course they side with him and I just want to explode. I feel like we Have no time to talk and then it’s too late and everyone is tired and frustrated and I just donT know how to approach the situation without causing a huge fight as I am feeling so overwhelmed and frustrated by it all. My son no longer looks to me for answers as he believes my answers aren’t good enough because his dad lets him basically do whatever he wants. Getting up for school is a huge fight and most mornings result in tears and him not wanting to leave me. I am afraid it is causing major damage and that he isn’t going to do well in school because he is exhausted. Help please!!!

  4. Here’s is my situation. Maybe I’m commenting too late. Well my husband and I disagree about letting his family kiss our son on the mouth when he is born. My family never kissed us on the mouth as babies or kids, his family did and does all the time with my 2 year old nephew. I know that they get cold sores often and I know what causes said cold sores. And not just that, but I’m a germaphobe and I hate how easily germs can be passed from kissing and sharing drink. My husband says that he is the leader of the household, so because he is ok with it that’s what stands. I think he is also afraid to offend his family because they have usually been pretty open on their opinions and their feelings and things. It hurts my feelings and I don’t know what to do. I’ve told him that I would be very respectful when asking his family not to kiss my baby on the mouth and that I’m sure they wouldn’t be offended because that is just a parenting choice. I’m also afraid that if this is how he acts on this issue, that if another similar situation arises in the future, he will handle it the same. The way I see it, unless I am biblically wrong, he shouldn’t need to pull the leader of the household card so easily on our disagreements. Any advice on how to handle this?

    1. Honestly, I agree that he shouldn’t pull his “leader of the household” card so easily, BUT I also think that this isn’t an issue worth risking your marital happiness over. In parenting, you and your husband are going to have a LOT of things you don’t agree about. (Me and my husband definitely do too!) And it’s so hard when they are actual issues of safety (whether real danger or perceived danger).

      If your spouse were being totally negligent, that’d be different. But in small issues like these, I find it’s best to just step back and let him do what he does, even if you don’t agree. It’s just not worth fighting over. You just do your best when it’s your turn to parent, and let him do his best when it’s his. Maybe you do more frequent baths, hand-washing, laundry or cleaning the house to combat germs that way. Or maybe you just get to the point where you say “Kids get colds sometimes. It stinks, but it’s a part of life.”

      That’s what I would do anyways. (Says the mom whose kid slept on the top bunk last night even though it gave her mom anxiety. And he did fine 🙂 )

      1. Thank you so much for your reply! I greatly appreciate your advice! You are right! I totally agree that this should not affect our martial happiness! I have decided to just pray about it and relax and not stress.

      2. Seems like all of the advice is “let it go” basically… so most things are “small stuff” in the grand scheme of things- BUT all the choices and apathy or lax discipline and dissatisfaction between spouses and low expectation certainly adds up to create a certain environment also- it is as though nothing short of Imminent life or death issues deserves a fight for the sake of upbringing the children a certain way by your posts? Not bedtimes, not getting homework done before tv, not consequences for lying, not being disrespectful or disobeying, not what foods or movies or clothes the fam purchases and provides- and not even if extended family kisses your baby or kid on the mouth???
        When did making clear rules and being the parental authority become such a bad thing? Kids want for boundaries and need them and I’m sorry, sometimes HUSBANDS do too. He admittedly says he cares , loves them, wants their safety health considered sure- but then regularly falls short without much adjustment and the open Willing loving and helpful Conversations only work if the partner cares and respects what your views are. Some adults just make plain poor decisions- for themself -all right whatever, let them falter- for my children- no thank you.
        Further, when everything always defaults to- well, it’s ok- you risk raising a certain type of child and have an environment where really no choices are taken that seriously. I disagree and feel they shape us. And a consistent stance of a lenient apathetic or overly forgiving-without -amends or -reconciliation parent is damaging to the child and the marriage.

      3. I am a pediatrician and have seen children/babies with HSV encephalitis (herpes infection of the brain). It is a terrible disease with devastating and possibly deadly aftermath. It would be bad enough to just be infected with cold sores as a child as a result of people kissing on the lips, but this is a real and serious issue. Infants are the highest risk for HSV encephalitis. Having seen first hand what this virus can do, I assure you, you are doing the right thing to not let people kiss a baby on the lips.

  5. Me and my husband have been arguing a lot lately. I’ve come into the marriage with my three yr old son and my now husband and him have become so close that my son calls him dad. He tickles and wrestles with our three yr old but when our son is done he starts crying and yells. My husband then tells him he’s being a crybaby and egging him on. It drives me crazy and lately our son has been rebelling at him and yelling at him which causes him to attempt to discipline him and me jumping in. I know it’s wrong for me to come in between him when he’s attempting to discipline. I can’t stop myself. I’ve tried talking to him about this but we just end up arguing. I feel like our son is just trying to be heard.

  6. JUST REACHING OUT FOR DIRECTION, THIS ARTICLE HAD SOME GREAT HELPFUL TIPS, HOWEVER I AM NOT SURE HOW TO RESOLVE CONFLICTS IN WHICH I THINK THE DIFFERENCES IN OUR OPINIONS OF HOW WE RAISE OUR DAUGHTER COULD EFFECT THE YOUNG WOMAN SHE BECOMES, MY HUSBAND AND I GET INTO MANY ARGUMENTS OVER OUR 12 YEAR OLD DAUGHTER. ON MY END I ADMITT THERE IS SOME RESENTMENT AS I FEEL SHE HAS ALWAYS BEEN DADDYS GIRL AND I FEEL TO BE PORTRAYED AS THE EVIL MOM AND DAD COMES TO SAVE THE DAY, BUT ON THE MOST IMPORTANT ISSUES OF HOW MY DAUGHTER DRESSES, HER SHORTS BEING WAY TO SHORT, HER BRA HANGING OUT OF HER TOPS, ETC. POINT IN CASE THIS MORNING AS WE ARE GETTING READY FOR CHURCH I NOTICE MY DAUGHTER IS WEARING HER EASTER DRESS THAT WE DISCOVERED THE ARM PITS WHERE TO LONG EXPOSING HER BRA STRAPS AND HER BRA UNDER THE ARMS, I MEAN I CAN SEE THE BRAS COLOR AND WRITING, I EVEN TOOK THE DRESS TO AN AUNT TO HAD HER SEW THE ARM PITTS BECAUSE MY DAUGHTER REALLY LIKES THE DRESS BUT THEY ARE STILL TO LONG SO I TOLD HER SHE WOULD HAVE TO WEAR A SHORT VEST OR CARDIGEN ,SOMETHING TO COVER THE ARM PITS, BUT THIS MORNING SHE COMES OUT NOT WEARING THECOVER, I WENT TO MY HUSBAND ALONE IN THE BEDROOM AND CALM AND EXPLAINED MY CONCERN, HE SAID HE SAW THE DRESS AND IT WAS FINE, I EXPLAINED THAT HER BRA STRAP AND SIDE OF BRA IS EXPOSED AND SHE IS JUST GETTING IN TO YOUTH WITH BOYS IN THEIR TEENS AND I REALLY FEEL ITS IMPORTANT HER BRA OR UNDIES NOT BE EXPOSED. HE DISAGREED, SAYING HE THOUGHT IT WAS FINE BUT WHATEVER I THOUGHT, SO BASICALLY THIS HAS PLAYED OUT BEFORE IS I TELL MY DAUGHTER SHE HAS TO CHANGE OR WEAR A COVER AND SHE GOES TO HER DAD AND COMPLAINS AND HE MAY SAY ” ITS WHAT MOM SAID” OR ” I DONT KNOW WHATVER MOM SAID” OR ” I THINK ITS FINE BUT MOM SAYS ITS NOT SO JUST WHATEVER SHE SAYS” AS YOU CAN TELL WE HAVE BEEN IN PLENTY OR ARGUMENTS OVER WHAT I DEEM TO BE INAPPROPRIATE CLOTHING, ITS NOT THAT HE EXPRESSES I DIVERT TO MOMS WISDOM BUT LIKE HEY I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS, ITS MOMS ISSUE NOT MINE, I THINK THE DRESS IT FINE, THIS USUALLY STARTS A BATTLE IN WHICH MY DAUGHTER WILL SAY SOMETHING LIKE ” SEE EVEN DAD THINKS ITS FINE BUT YOU HAVE TO HAVE IT YOUR WAY” IN THE END, EVERYONE IS MAD ON THE WAY TO CHURCH AND ITS ALL MY FAULT. I DO UNDERSTAND AFTER READING YOUR ARTICLE THAT I HAVE ALOT OF THIGS TO WORK ON AND “LET GO” OF THE SMALL THINGS BUT THIS TO ME IS NOT SMALL, ITS WHO MY DAUGHTER IS GROWING UP TO BE, MY JOB IS TO GUIDE HER ON HER JOURNEY INTO BEING A CHRISTIAN WOMAN AND HOW SHE DRESSES (IN THAT IT EXPOSES PARTS/GARMENTS ETC) IS VERY IMPORTANT PART I MUCH TEACH HER. ANY ADVICE? THANKS

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