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Creating Harmony with Different Parenting Styles

By: Behaviorally Speaking

Published: Feb 7, 2024
African American parents talking with teenage son at kitchen table

About this Podcast Episode

On this episode, Angela and Kristin provide an overview of the 4 main parenting styles and discuss pros and cons of each. They dive into strategies to consider if you and your co-parent operate with different parenting styles, and ways to create harmony and collaboration despite those differences.

About the Hosts

Angela Nelson, Ed.D., BCBA, and Kristin Bandi, MA, BCBA, are Board Certified Behavior Analysts with expertise on human behavior and child development. They spend their days working with parents and caregivers of both typically developing children as well as children with learning, social, and behavioral challenges, or developmental disabilities. This podcast is brought to you by RethinkCare

If you need support as a parent or caregiver of a child, we encourage you to ask your Human Resources team if RethinkCare is a part of your employer-provided benefits. RethinkCare reaches millions of lives globally through partnerships with top organizations and Fortune 1,000 companies. 


Welcome to episode 44 of Behaviorally Speaking, a podcast featuring board certified behavior analysts Angela Nelson and Kristin Bandi. On this episode, they talk about parenting styles and ways to create harmony even if your parenting style differs from your partner. And now, here are your hosts, Angela Nelson and Kristin Bandi. 

Angie: Hello and welcome to our 44th episode of Behaviorally Speaking I’m one of your hosts Angela Nelson, Board Certified Behavior Analysts and mother of two. 

Kristin: And I’m Kristin Bandi, also a Board-Certified Behavior Analysts and mother of three. Angie, I think we need to adjust your intro. 

Angie: Oh. 

Kristin: I think you’ve recently ah not to not to put you on the spot, but I think we ah you want to share your recent accomplishment?  

Angie: Oh yeah. 

Kristin: You need to say you need to add that in.  

Angie: Oh yeah, I’m, I need to add in Dr Angela Nelson? 

Kristin: Yeah yes, love it. A lot of hard work went into that you mentioned it a few times on the podcast like you’re like I’m doing my dissertation I think people could probably put it together, but you’re done. 

Angie: Yeah, I know. 

Kristin: You’re officially yes you have another thing checked off your list and you have more time for reading.  

Angie: I know it’s funny. What was I reading last night? Smart But Scattered Guide to Success making our cheat sheet. Ah you know Google Doc like yeah. 

Kristin: Ah, yes, yeah. 

Angie: And the nerd that I am but yes, I do I have been diving into like lots of fun reading I don’t have to read textbooks anymore and write until midnight. So yeah, it’s been a long many years. Ah finally done so. 

Kristin: Yeah, yeah, yeah I will get there again in life I feel like I talked to a lot of parents about this and I don’t know this probably goes to like our parent guilt or burnout episode, or one of the many but I feel like at the end of the day I’m just totally tapped I just can’t even think about reading anything. 

Angie: Yeah. 

Kristin: I feel like even if I like it, I’m just kind of like don’t I don’t want to use my mind at all right now. But I feel like that changes right? Just tell me it changes. 

Angie: Yeah, yeah, I mean I think when you’re when you’re like at a point where you’re ready to do it again, do skill again, you kind of I don’t know something changes and you just you add it into your routine and you kind of get in the mode.  

Kristin: Mm-hmm. 

Angie: So yeah, so that’s what’s new in in my world. But um I don’t know should we dive into this topic today? 

Kristin: And yeah, let’s do it. This is a really good one. I’m very excited about this one today. 

Angie: I’m excited too. So today we’re talking about parenting styles and how often times two, we’re gonna say co-parents right? It could be your partner or your spouse who whoever maybe even ah, a friend or a family member. But so for you know for ease we’re gonna say co-parent but many times those co-parents don’t have the same parenting styles and we’re not talking about like your teenager is going to homecoming and you think her dress is too short and you think and the other person thinks it’s not you know, like a little difference of opinion. We’re talking about substantial differences in style of parenting and we’re gonna get into that, but you know I think big picture parenting is hard. There, there is ah more than one way to parent oftentimes it stems from how you were parented right? So, we’re gonna we’re gonna first dive into parenting styles and then talk about how to create harmony despite the fact that you might have parent differences in parenting styles. 

Kristin: Yeah, yeah, so good I’m glad that you set that expectation and that it’s not just about these tiny differences. But overall, you know things are going. Okay I think that there are some families and many families and many that I consult with where there’s just completely different styles but like you’ve said I think there are ways to kind of harmonize that a little bit.  

Angie: Yeah. 

What Are the 4 Main Types of Parenting Styles? 

Kristin: Yeah, so before we get going into you know, kind of creating harmony we were looking this up and many of you are probably familiar with the four main parenting styles. And so, what we’re going to do first is just go through those list those out and maybe list out some pros and cons to those just so you get a better understanding of the parenting styles. There’s lots of different resources that you can find. We found some good stuff on Stanford Children’s, Parents magazine has some good resources too. So, we can certainly you know, dive into that. 

Parenting Style 1: Authoritative 

Kristin: Um, so the first one ah being authoritative parenting style and essentially this means it comes from frequent communication between parents and children. So, within that communication. Perhaps we’re setting very clear expectations. There’s going to be a lot of explanations surrounding discipline and there’s going to be a lot of guidance, teaching and support and then of course you know within that communication. There’s going to be collaboration and nurturing and so that’s kind of the definition of the authoritative parenting style and then certainly with anything in life, right? There’s some pros and cons to everything.  

Pros of Authoritative Parenting Style 

Kristin: And so, some pros that that we learned about when it comes to this parenting style is kids essentially have a good sense of accountability and leadership and this is. Likely because they’ve been able to make decisions and choices on their own and therefore, they’re able to do that in the future and children typically are more respectful and that could be because parents are modeling respect for them and then they’re ultimately more resilient and so it could be because they’re allowed to fail right? So, they’re allowed to make some mistakes and fail and then ultimately, they’re going to learn from those mistakes So Those can be some pros that that we read about when it comes to authoritative parenting style. 

Cons of Authoritative Parenting Style 

Kristin: And then of course there’s a con to all different styles, right? And so, some cons to this one is. This approach is seen by many researchers to lead to the best overall outcomes for kids. So, it’s harder to find cons here, right? So, as we described, um, it can take a great deal of patience and time to have this style. So, I think that’s kind of the although so it’s not necessarily a con to the parenting style right, but it’s saying that this is a really hard style to do right? 

Angie: Yeah, takes a lot of effort. Yeah.  

Kristin: We all might yeah like we all might have this style in mind because after I read it, I was like that sounds amazing, right?  

Angie: Yeah.  

Kristin: Like that’s the best style Wow I Want to do that. But I think the con is how do we keep up with that and I think again kind of maybe a sidebar of that is sometimes we might create the expectation for ourselves right, that that’s going to be my parenting style and therefore a con could be a result some sort of parent maybe parenting guilt or you know guilt or shame at the end of the day because you’re not actually living up to that expectation.  

Angie: Yeah, right?  

Kristin: You’ve set for yourself so that feels like a big con. Yeah. 

Angie: Yeah, right? Yeah, I think it’s easy. Yeah, definitely I think, some people settle into this style more easily than others too like some people strive for that style. But you know if you had parents that were falling in the style it might be a little bit easier. You might not be thinking about it so much, but yeah. 

Kristin: Um, right? Yeah, it feels more natural. Yeah, that makes sense. 

Parenting Style 2: Authoritarian 

Kristin: So, another one to the second one we hear about, and we read about is Authoritarian so sounds similar but different. And so, this style of parenting comes with really high expectations. Usually, we’ll see quite firm rules and punishments, right? So, it’s like this is how it needs to be, this is why and because I said so right? 

Angie: Right? Yeah. 

Kristin: I hate to put that one in there. But it’s just kind of what we see right? Um, yeah, right. 

Angie: Because I said so is like all over the literature around this one. 

Kristin: Right? right? And so obviously we’re going to see that it tends to be less nurturing and flexible and so what we’re saying is parents are making the rules and then children are expected to follow, right? And they’re not able to negotiate. So, some pros and cons to this one.  

Pros of Authoritarian Parenting Style 

Kristin: So, some pros that you could see would be that kids typically engage in better behavior, right? So, they know I better not step on a line here because there’s potentially going to be a consequence, I know what that’s going to be and therefore I’m going to follow the rules. So, we do see that that is ah is a pro and there’s typically more achievement in school. So maybe higher achievement more effort put forth with their grades and schoolwork and we’re going to see that there’s again, low risk-taking behavior because of the fear right of potentially getting punished or things that might go wrong there So there are cons to that one or pros to that one. 

Cons of Authoritarian Parenting Style 

Kristin: But now talking a little bit about the cons. So of course there’s going to be some cons with this one and essentially it’s you know kids are over reliant on the rules and so when they’re not met with a situation where or when they’re met with a situation where there’s not a clear guideline or this is exactly what you need to do they might then feel more insecure right like ooh I don’t actually know how to handle this situation because I haven’t you know I haven’t gotten the rule defined for me on this one. Yeah, and some other things we might see ah some rebellious tendencies there so kids might tend to rebel because they’re too constricted ah reduced self-esteem and maybe they’re good likely to be a little bit more emotionally withdrawn because that you know that door has not been open for them. 

Angie: Yeah, yeah, I think that’s a good way to put that. Okay, so that was our authoritarian style. We’re gonna segue over. We’re gonna talk about the two remaining styles of parenting, the first one being permissive.  

Parenting Style 3: Permissive 

Angie: So, when you see permissive parents, this tends to look like very nurturing um, parents that want to be more “the friend” as opposed to the authority figure. So, friend-like interactions. There are usually fewer expectations, fewer rules if any, not really well-defined discipline. So, parents that have this style, they opt for more natural consequences instead of kind of firm-imposed consequences. They try to emphasize giving their kids freedom and they’re not overly concerned with safety so this would be like the opposite of like the helicopter parent. So yeah, they’re not, they’re not so concerned about like oh my gosh don’t do that, don’t claim the tree you know? So yeah, I guess this would be kind of more, that free range parenting that’s kind of one of those new terms, right? Like free range parenting.  

Kristin: Yeah. 

Pros of Permissive Parenting Style 

Angie: Um, so the pro here that are that kids usually have a good deal of self-assurance they’ve had the opportunity to practice that they might be extra creative. A good sense of you know, no surprise here exploration and adventurousness because they’ve yeah, they’ve been given that the freedom to do so. 

Cons of Permissive Parenting Style 

Angie: On the cons though would be that they might be more risk prone they might have a more risk prone temperament oftentimes due to just a lack of boundaries and some studies show that this type of parenting style can lead to higher rates of anxiety and depression among kids. And then also just like we saw in the last one might be a surprise but here it may also result in rebellion. So, when we saw Authoritarian um parenting because it was so rigid kids might rebel in this case too. They might be rebellious because they just they don’t really have to follow rules, they can kind of do what they want to do. 

Kristin: Oh, makes sense. 

Angie: And that might cause some rebellion in school and so on. It’s like hey wait a second, no I I’m the ruler of my domain.  

Kristin: Right? I make my world. Yeah.  

Angie: Yeah, so that’s Permissive. 

Parenting Style 4: Uninvolved 

Angie: And then last, we go into Uninvolved parenting style. So, this style comes with basically getting the basic needs fulfilled but not much else beyond that not a lot of involvement, usually low levels of nurturing expectations and rules. So, in the previous three we saw kind of high in one low in the other and so on. In this case, we’ve got pretty much low across the board. 

Pros of Uninvolved Parenting Style 

Angie: So, the pros here. You’ve got usually a good sense of self-reliance and resilience among these kids but that’s oftentimes just out of necessity, like they didn’t really have a choice they kind of have to just be a self-starter and be a go getter because there isn’t really anybody else that’s kind of looking out for them. 

Cons of Uninvolved Parenting Style 

Angie: And then as you might imagine there are quite a few cons to this one, a lack of emotional connection with their parents. Usually we see lower self-esteem, might be emotional neediness in other relationships because they aren’t getting those needs met. There might be some challenges socially due to just not having models and teaching opportunities from their parents and lack of ah coping skills, as we might assume. Some of the literature also points to this just being at the style that leads to the overall worst outcomes for kids. I will make a caveat to say a lot of times this is not a choice and active deliberate choice that parents are making. Sometimes parents, again this is what they saw from their parents, or you know they’re going through their own hardships or trauma and things like that, and they are just not involved because they can’t be so yeah, just want to mention that oftentimes it’s not that parents are choosing to be uninvolved. So yeah, those are the four parenting styles. 

Kristin: Yeah, and I kind of think of like ah parents who might be um, you know, really depressed perhaps or like really struggling with their own mental health. 

Angie: Yeah, substance abuse, right? Absolutely.  

Kristin: Yeah, yeah, so it’s not necessarily a choice. Yep okay, well that that sums up those four, really well actually. 

Other Parenting Styles 

Kristin: So, one other the thing I wanted to mention, and I was just looking this up a little bit ago. There are obviously there’s the four types of parenting styles, right? But within kind of how everything in life just tends to evolve if you’re on any of the socials as we’ve said right? There’s going to be ah other just parenting styles that we see and so I wanted to mention a few um a few that have come that come up on a lot of the different sites, right? So, I’ll mention a few real quickly and then we can certainly get into it. 

Instinctive Parenting 

Kristin: So, one was instinctive parenting, so we already mentioned this but there’s a name for it right? And essentially this means that you’re going to parent the way that you were parented just like Angie said before, right? So, it’s good or bad. It doesn’t it doesn’t necessarily mean anything it just means like this is what feels good to me therefore this is what I’m comfortable with so I’m going to parent this way and so kind of going back to what we were saying before, maybe you really have the goal of being an authoritative parent right? However, your parents, you were parented with an Authoritarian parenting style. 

Angie: Yeah. 

Kristin: So, you might fall back into that naturally even against your best wishes for yourself. So, I think it’s important to mention that sometimes this can play a role.  

Attachment Parenting 

Kristin: Yeah, another one we hear about often is called attachment parenting which I’m sure many are familiar with this one and so essentially we see this one with little kids right babies and we say okay well babies need to be held and loved and nurtured and supported and attachment parenting kind of goes beyond just the baby right? So, it’s essentially providing a lot of emotional support and strength our emotional support and responding quickly and immediately when kids have any adversity in life. So, it’s kind of like jumping in almost too soon and not allowing kids to work it out for themselves.  

Angie: Yeah.  

Kristin: So, ah and so essentially, that’s it’s kind of like that. And something else that I mentioned in here is, so I think the belief behind this method of parenting is that attachment to the parent ultimately helps the child become more secure empathetic and peaceful as a human being. So yeah, again, ah like all things, right? There could be some pros and cons here. 

Angie: So yeah, yeah. 

Conscious (“Helicopter”) Parenting

Kristin: And then the last one that I was reading about, and you already mentioned this, and we probably hear about this a lot and I’m sure you all have heard about helicopter parenting, right?  

Angie: Yeah.  

Kristin: And so, I actually read something earlier too I think I think it was called like Conscious Parenting now, it’s like kind of shifting, but in a better way because helicopter parenting has like a very negative connotation to it. 

Angie: Yeah. 

Kristin: Um, but there was like a well, but you could be a conscious parent and then you know it’s better. So, look that up, but essentially helicopter parenting is you’re just you’re being too protective right? And therefore, you’re interfering with your child’s life and again it goes beyond just like the safety stuff when they’re little right? Like no, you cannot put that screwdriver in the electrical socket 

Angie: Haha.  

Kristin: Or eat the bleach, right?  

Angie: Oh my god.  

Kristin: But this but this goes to like when kids are older. It might be like I don’t want you to. Um, you know, leave the house. 

Angie: Right. 

Kristin: Or I don’t want you to do these things or no, you can’t be friends with these people things like that right? So, interfering with kids’ lives certainly it can be problematic as kids get older. 

Angie: Yeah, absolutely yeah, so I think a good summary for that is that you know we went through the four kind of traditional parenting styles. But then there’s so many new terms that have popped up in the recent years on social media. 

Kristin: Right.  

Angie: Like we were talking about free range parenting. 

Kristin: Oh yeah.  

Angie: There’s also what is the uh, what’s the new one? There’s, I don’t know positive parenting and gentle parenting? 

Kristin: Oh, positive parenting. Yeah, gentle parenting. Yep yeah.  

Angie: So, there’s a lot out there. I think the bottom line is you know all kids can be successful regardless of their upbringing and their upbringing parenting style at home, just know that. The research shows that authoritative parenting tends to have about the best outcomes but certainly um, it is not a foregone conclusion of course. But something that’s important to mention the way your parent does influence your child, right? It influences their self-esteem, their levels of Independence, their social skills achievement in school and a lot of different areas so it is something to be mindful of and kind of hence why we’re doing a podcast.  

Kristin: Yeah. 

Angie: So yeah, at the end of the day how you parent your child does matter. 

What if My Parenting Style Is Different From My Partner? 

Kristin: Yeah totally. So, I think ah you know a nice segue into what’s next is well what if my parenting style is different than my partner? 

Angie: Yeah. 

Kristin: Want to say something that we did not talk about ah when we were prepping for this and something that maybe we should mention is it might be good to get together with your partner to see if they know what parenting style you are and vice versa. 

Angie: Yeah.  

Kristin: Because I would tell you right now, I’m pretty confident my husband thinks I’m a permissive parent, I’m not. I will tell you I am not. However, we are so opposite on the ends of the spectrum that he might think I’m being permissive in areas where he’s not. 

Angie: Right.  

Kristin: And so, it but really like by definition I’m not, right? But I feel like in order to have some harmony here, maybe, I don’t even know if we have this in here right, but the first step should be recognizing where the other person is and like actually maybe reading the definitions and be like where do I fall here? Where do you fall? Because I think that could be really good to do some investigative work. 

Angie: Yeah, yeah. 

Kristin: So first and foremost, yeah.  

Angie: Well, it’s caught I think it’s goes back to like communication right? which is no surprise so communicating about parenting styles I think it’s interesting to have the two of us hosting this right because you guys have very different styles in your home and in our home our styles are very similar.  

Kristin: Oh, I don’t know if I knew that. Wow that’s cool.  

Angie: So yes, yeah, yeah, we don’t always agree, but I think we definitely have the same approach on most things when it comes to raising our kids. 

Kristin: Um, oh that’s good. 

Angie: Yeah, so it’s in so we’ll both weigh in from different angles into this.  

Kristin: Yeah, totally, right? And so, I think it’s ah it’s also important to mention that yes, sure it’d be great if everybody you know if you had the similar parenting styles and that but sometimes it’s a good thing if you have different parenting styles, right? 

Angie: Yeah. 

Kristin: Because your kids ultimately have to get used to flexibility and they’re not going to encounter, everybody is not going to teach or coach or parent essentially them in the same way. So, you know this actually helps create some flexibility here so it could be good, but I think the big thing to remember through this podcast, and I’m working on this one too, is to remember to operate as a team, right? So even if you have totally different parenting styles there are ways that that we can continue to operate as a team and Angie, and I have gathered lots of different strategies to do that today. How do we do that? 

Angie: Um, ah, yes, absolutely so let’s dive into it. Yeah, obviously different styles could clash at times cause problems. So, what are we going to do? So, we collected a series of several different strategies based on research kind of ah, an amalgam of sorts.  

Schedule Weekly Parent Meeting

Angie: And so, the first one speaking of communication like we just talked about schedule a weekly parent meeting. I cannot emphasize this enough. We do this in our house, and I think it is so incredibly helpful. I share this with a lot of families. I’ve talked to a lot of people that do this too and they say yes, this definitely um you know reduces ah, you know things that before they bubble up. It also just makes sure that everybody’s aware of the routine and so on. So you know the big meeting, focus, and we do that on Sunday nights it could be whenever is convenient for the two partners right, two co-parents but it’s not just you know hey we need to kind of get on the same page with regards to our kids’ sports schedule for the week or who’s doing pickups and drop offs, but it’s also talk about big ticket items and these are usually things that are evolving over weeks, months, even years so things like academics and discipline. Those are two big ticket items that really can suit you well if you if you try to have some sort of compromise and get and get on the same page about, we know that having consistency helps give kids security, so it is really important that some of those big-ticket items you’ve come together. You also address differences of opinion in private, I know that’s easier said than done but try to take five try to go into you know a separate room. You could say something like hey you know what, let’s actually step out, let’s talk about this in private. Um, definitely going to be helpful to do that, but yes schedule that weekly meeting to get on the same page with those big-ticket items. 

Kristin: I was gonna say two things on this. One, I feel like having that hey we’re gonna talk about this in private moment. Well one it’s great to do but sometimes it’s not possible to do it right? Then in that moment. But if you already have your standing weekly meeting. It could be like we’re gonna talk about this on Sunday, right?  

Angie: Yeah, let’s table it. Yeah.  

Kristin: But it doesn’t have to be like or I’m talking about I’m bringing this back up, right? Um, but I think that it’s and it’s important because then that other parent or both parents right but the parent who might be saying I don’t I don’t really agree with that strategy you know has that voice and they have that time that they can do it so they know okay I can bring it up then I know it’s not a good time to bring it up right now and that could be really helpful. The other thing I was going to say on this is if you’re not already having that weekly meeting and you’re not discussing these big-ticket items I think it might even be helpful to start the meeting with simply just talking about scheduling, right? So, we’re going to make it easier to start. So, it’s like okay, let’s just talk about scheduling during this meeting and then now hey you know what now that we’ve got this meeting going. It’s going really consistent. We’re starting to have some wins here. Everyone’s on the same page then you bring in the more difficult conversations like academics and discipline because I could see over here you know, just kind of personal I feel like if I went in you know we’re going to talk about all these you know 15 different things. It would be like nope so you know I feel that could be helpful. Yeah, right. 

Angie: Ah, yeah, that’s a great idea. Yeah, set yourselves up for success. Yeah, a hundred percent. 

Kristin: Yeah, so and then the next one that we that we landed on that could be really helpful and again I think it’s not always easier said than done but encouraging your co-parent, right? So, there are probably most likely lots of good things, right? There’s lots of good strengths and there’s you know, a lot of things that your co-parent is doing well when it comes to parenting and so trying to focus your energy on those can be really helpful and remembering that well blaming and shaming, it’s not going to make things better right? It’s probably going to make things worse and then along with that if you’re doing that perhaps in front of the kids, right? Then like you know undermining the other one’s authority in front of the kids like that can be so difficult for the kids because then they don’t really know right? They’re like who do I listen to? So, you know that can be really helpful there. 

Angie: Right? Right. 

Kristin: And then something else that I think could be really helpful here depending on the family, right? But maybe you can create some sort of accountability system for yourself with your partner or your co-parent, right? So, it might be hey you know every time if I at least if I praise you at least once this week you know that’s a win or you know, just holding each other accountable to being kind and really encouraging the other parent I think could be really helpful. 

Angie: Yeah, absolutely I have an example. Um my husband does this really well, he’ll point out things where he’ll say hey I really appreciated how you phrase that or I really appreciated how you reminded me to do X, Y and Z in a and in that way it was it was like coming from a place of helpfulness and love and not trying to make me feel terrible about myself. You know so he does point that out and that reinforces that behavior and makes me feel good too and I’m more likely to do it you know again. Oh, and I also wanted to mention side note we do have a section at the end if you are a divorced co-parent.  

Kristin: Yeah, we didn’t mention that.  

Angie: So yeah, so just so stick around stick around. We do have that carved out too. 

Kristin: Yeah, yes, that’s her. Yeah, I think ultimately. I Think a good you know takeaway for this one would be, are you treating your partner like you would treat your friend or your colleague, right? So, I think a lot of times it’s so much easier to just kind of unload on our partner, right? or be more short or have less patience, right? And so, if we keep that in mind, I think that can be helpful. 

Angie: Yeah, absolutely. 

Kristin: Um, I know I know we’re going to jump to the next one, but I have to share a really funny story really quick, really quick I swear. So, this just happened a couple nights ago, and it made me think about it when we’re talking about like to be a team right? And so, you know when one parent says no ah does the kid think they’re going to get a yes from another parent right? or they’re thinking about ways like I said no so that means no right? Well, our youngest is only two so it’s just really funny to like think about how cognitively they develop and so I was I think I walked into the room and my little one he calls all treats sugar which is really funny. He goes mommy can I have some sugar?  

Angie: It’s very specific and accurate.  

Kristin: And so I know I don’t know I don’t even know where he learned that from honestly, but so I heard I over before I walked into the room I overheard him say to daddy he said Daddy can I have some sugar and you know Seth was like no, we can’t have sugar right now. It’s bedtime and then I turn the corner and he goes mommy can I have some sugar? And I just looked over and I was like I heard you say no, why is he asking me and of course he said I think he thinks he’s going to get a yes. 

Angie: Ah. 

Kristin: But it was just like a funny moment that we had, and I was just like of course they got my mind going on okay, developmentally when do they understand that like one parent says no does that mean both parents say no? Or you know I just kind of went into a spiral in my mind there. But I just thought that was so funny because I’m like huh. He really thinks he’s going to get a yes right now? No, he’s not going to get a yes, but I just have to share. 

Angie: Yeah, aww, yeah, I think it kind of depends on house from house to house right? Like some kids will start to learn that no means know and then in some houses you know you do go from one parent to the next and you might get a different answer I think people kids are clued in fairly early too in terms of the level of um, like being on the same page that their parents are too. So, it’s yeah, it’s an interesting dynamic in the house.  

Kristin: Yeah. 

Use “I” Statements 

Angie: Yeah, all right? So, this next one. I know this is probably going to sound like oh this is Angie the therapist talking, but honestly this is a very efficacious strategy I promise using “I” statements so when we are talking about two co-parents married or not, you’re connected forever right? You’ve got a child or multiple children that you share. You got to get stuff accomplished right? And so likely you’re going to get more accomplished if you use respectful language, using “I” statements so something like “you always baby him, you want him to be dependent on you.” This is an example from a consultation not that long ago. Um, that one of the parents was saying “yeah you know you just you want him to be dependent on him on you always baby him” and so on as opposed to you know “I really want our child to be independent I, want to create opportunities for him to learn how to do these things so that he’s ready to go when he goes to college next year.” It’s ah it definitely can get a lot more accomplished that way because you’re not putting the other person on the defensive. So, it goes back to what we were talking about a little earlier, being mindful of the language that you use and how you communicate things can make a huge difference and you might need to flux that muscle a little bit. You might need a practice. It might not come natural for you but being intentional trying out those “I” statements definitely could give you get you a little further. 

Kristin: Totally and if you have that established weekly meeting, right? Like this is where you can practice the whole week how you’re going to phrase this because this is a really hard one, I think it’s difficult. It’s so easy to be accusing accusatory right? Like “you did that therefore…” right? So, I feel like that can be quite natural, so we have to we got to shift it so using “I” statements becomes more natural makes sense. 

Angie: Yeah, right? Yeah, well and I think that some people grow up in a household where if something happens and a parent might immediately jump to “Who did it right?” and so you’re programed to be defensive or programmed for that sort of interaction. Um other households that might be “like oh that was an accident hey everybody let’s come clean it up”. You know So much of this goes back into our childhood and yeah so, I think it may take more work like we talked about with the Authoritative Parenting too. You might need to just be more intentional, have more practice, write it down, have reminders, accountability partners. Whatever the case may be but definitely a worthy task to start. 

Be Open Minded 

Kristin: Yeah, yeah, definitely And I think this one goes nicely to the next one is be open minded right? So, there is a chance, there’s a chance that your co-parents idea might be better than your idea.  

Angie: What? What? 

Kristin: I know, I know and I think this is going to happen right? like it’s natural for one parent to have a really great idea and then another to have another really great idea but the point here is to be open-minded and not always say like no, it has to go this way because that’s how I was raised for example, right? 

Angie: Right?  

Kristin: You know this is what I think is best and so I think goes back to what we were saying before is just having that open communication but also having an open mind and coming together and this is where how I had mentioned you know, understanding the other parent’s parenting style just like we would want to understand their love language right? Like I think it’s just as important because then you might understand oh you know what? Oh, my co-partner thinks this, or co-parent thinks this because they were raised that way. Oh, that makes sense. Okay, let’s have a conversation about it. So, I think it just it I don’t know it takes away some of the maybe some of the stress. 

Angie: Yeah, or some of the judgment it takes away some of the judgment too. 

Kristin: Oh yeah, totally. 

Angie: Because you can’t if you’re I will say when you’re in a high stress situation. Your true self really comes out your true parenting style that kind of the knee-jerk reaction really comes out and. 

Kristin: Right? yeah. 

Angie: We’re not thinking. It’s kind of unintentional at that point. So yeah, just you know, being understanding and knowing that they are trying their best in that moment but those are those moments that were maybe not always making the best decisions.  

Kristin: Yeah, exactly. 

Seek Support or Parent Training 

Angie: So yeah, all right getting down to the last couple, or actually this is the last one before we get into our segment on divorce, seek support. So definitely, here’s counseling available of course, couples counseling I think post pandemic counseling has had a real. Ah, resurgence of ah counseling is so much easier to come by than ever before. There’s a lot of free counseling you know through employers and so on through EAP programs, which is great. 

Have Parent Training 

Angie: And then separate from counseling but also very important having parent training, right? So you want to look for people that have ah the degrees and the experience to actually go through and teach you various parenting strategies but parenting training is also very important maybe in parallel to counseling in both of these you’re going to have probably hopefully an experience where you’re feeling heard the counselor or the parent trainer is likely not going to take sides unless something egregious is going on. Um, sometimes you know there isn’t a solution and it’s just important to be able to build up your tools in your tool belt so down the road you’re able to kind of come together and problem solve as a team so being able to seek support sometimes you might be at a true impasse I think we’re going to talk about that a little bit later but seeking professional support ah may be a good option for you. 

Kristin: Yeah, yeah, I think that’s a good call out. You know I agree that that some of the stigma attached to counseling and even getting training and for anything right is decreasing just great and so it can be a really good resource. Yeah. 

Angie: Yeah, I’m just thinking like um, for example, if let’s say you want to have your child start taking medication for their ADHD and then the other partner says no way no way, no way that you’re at a total impasse, right? That’s a big-ticket item and if you’re you can’t be on medication and not on medication at the same time, right? 

Kristin: Yep. 

Angie: It’s very. It’s a very ah what do you call that like a binary thing right so, that would be something where you would say hey our child’s super important, we cannot come to agreement on this. We probably need to seek some outside guidance. So yeah, yeah. 

Kristin: That’s a perfect example? Yep yeah, good.  

What if My Parenting Style Is Different from Co-Parent (Separated/Divorced)?

Kristin: Okay, well let’s move it along so of course as we mentioned ah certainly there are parents who are separated or divorced and your kids are living in different households and this can add an extra layer of complications when it comes to communication and being on the same team and potentially there are you know there’s hurt feelings here. So ah, so we definitely want to address this one.  

Put Your Feelings Aside

Kristin: The first thing that that we want to mention and. Ah, this one comes up quite a bit on my consultations. It’s hard. It’s hard to put your feelings aside, right? but we want to make sure that we have our best interest in mind for our children, right? And so even if you want to say something ah poor about the other parent ah, it might be helpful to kind of hold those things in, right?  

Angie: Yeah.  

Kristin: So, and you know I know this section is dedicated toward divorce and separation, however I feel like this one’s super applicable inside the home as well because there might be so an example might be you’re the co-parent doesn’t come to any of the sporting events, right? And maybe the child says why isn’t mommy here? Why isn’t daddy here right? And instead of saying like you know they’re always working, they’re never here, right? Anything that you could say that might because you’re upset right? Like it’s a perfect, this is a perfect example. We got to hold those things in right, and we need to kind of change the narrative a bit and just be very careful about the wording that you’re using with your kids Ah, just because of the message you’re sending. 

Angie: Yeah, absolutely yeah, you might feel better in the very moment that you say that because you’re like oh yea huh, but that doesn’t help your child if anything that’s sending them mixed messages making them confused making them upset so that’s where you want to process those frustrations elsewhere. Um, that’s a big that’s an adult issue. That’s not a kid issue that that your kid has to carry. 

Kristin: Right? Yeah yep, definitely. 

Remember You Can’t Control What Happens at the Other Parent’s House

Angie: Yeah, so okay, so getting into the next one remember that you can’t control what happens at the other parent’s house. So, this definitely fits squarely into if you’ve got a two parent or a two-household situation going. So it is important to establish as much regular communication as you can with that co-parent if you can still get together and have those weekly meetings or even just on the phone to address those big ticket items that’s going to be great, but at the end of the day just make sure that your child is crystal clear about the rules in your house and be consistent with those right? That’s really the best you can do we hear this all the time, which is oh it’s, so you know it’s crazy and chaotic, there’s they don’t, they’re not, ah, forced to do their homework at their other parent’s house and all that stuff. Um, there is only so much that you can do and you got to focus on ah where you have the most influence which is your own home and then of course one thing you can do though what you have some control over is kind of teaching good skills and good values for your child right? So if they want to grow up and be a veterinarian for example, talking about the importance of well doing our homework being a good student so that way at the other family’s house if maybe that parent doesn’t really check homework or doesn’t force the kids to do homework, they might be more intrinsically motivated to do it in the long run. So, I feel like that’s kind of one thing that you can do to it to influence your child. But you know as a whole you really can’t control what’s going on over there. 

Kristin: Totally I was just going to say that that’s a perfect example and I have a parent that I’ve been working with who there’s been, two kids and the younger one is a toddler right? And so, he hits a lot hits big brother often um, and in dad’s house dad has been able to really manage that behavior provides a lot of redirection positive brace of the toddler and all the stuff but the older kiddo has expressed that when he goes over to mom’s house. It’s been really hard for him because his baby brother, you know, punches him and in a toddler way, right? Nothing too major, but I said you know you can’t like we said right? You can’t control what goes on in the other parent’s house. However, you can teach big brother to redirect, teach big brother to provide praise, right? So now we’re talking about what skills can they take with them over to the other house, which is great. Yeah. 

Angie: Right? Exactly, exactly. 

Find Overlaps of Goals for Your Children 

Kristin: Yeah, and then another the next one here when they’re when you’re at an impasse right? And not one that we’ve said where there’s like no solution, but ah when you’re just having, you’re disagreeing right? figure out where you can find some overlaps to your main goals for your child or your children. So, there might be something that you agree on, right? That may be dental hygiene, right? Maybe that’s something that we say you know what we agree on dental hygiene we are going to create this system that how however you know they can make sure they brush their teeth twice a day. What have you right? So, create you can create whatever you know, whatever it looks like but find some common ground, something that you can start with to create some harmony among the two households and then certainly you could build from there. 

Angie: Yeah, absolutely, that’s start easy start small start with the overlap get some get some small wins. We’re big fans of getting small wins. Yeah, all right? 

Kristin: Yeah, yeah, exactly, right? right? Yeah, exactly. 

Conclusion and Summary

Angie: Well, that kind of covers it. I think just a general statement right is overall. It’s kind of unrealistic as we’ve talked about to expect your co-parent to always be on the same page as you and have the same exact parenting approaches that you do in every situation What we know from the research though luckily is that it is not a required for raising a successful child. Although as we talked about before your parenting style does matter it does influence, but it’s not a requirement that you’d be both exactly the same, which is good.  

Kristin: Right.  

Angie: Um, the main thing though the main I guess ideas to distill down is if you’re operating as a team, you try your best to communicate respectfully and often, be open-minded, and seek outside help when you need it, you are definitely setting yourself up to have as you know effective a parenting journey as you can. 

Kristin: Yeah, well said that’s a great we’ll leave on that, we’ll end on that. That’s really good. Perfect. Okay, well thanks, everyone for joining us on our forty fourth episode of Behaviorally Speaking. On our next episode we will discuss how to talk to your child about their diagnosis. Until then don’t forget to subscribe to this podcast on your favorite platform so you never miss an episode.  

You’ve been listening to Behaviorally Speaking, with Angela Nelson and Kristin Bandi, brought to you by RethinkCare. Find out more at You can find past podcast episodes under the Resources tab. We also invite you to subscribe, follow, like, and leave us feedback wherever you listen to podcasts. Your feedback helps us prepare topics and content for future episodes. Until next time, have a great day.

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