Ever feel like you’re not on the same page with your spouse/significant other (SSO) about parenting? Maybe you feel an issue with your daughter ought to be handled one way and your SSO isn’t backing you up. Or maybe your SSO gets very adamant about what, to you, seems like something small.
Feeling all by yourself in what you’re noticing and experiencing with your daughter is something that many of my mom clients often mention to me. It’s important to remember: being on the “same page” does not mean you each think the same but that you each understand your individual books.
If you are a mom who has an SSO who is in-the-picture with you, then here are some quick things for you to pause to consider.
Get On The Same Page With…
It may sound obvious, but often personality differences are overlooked as a factor in parenting styles.
However, the first key to getting on the same page is to honestly own up to what your and your SSO’s personality style is. The second key is to understand that, in general, both of your personality styles can be seen as complementary and not conflicting.
The third, and most important, key is to have a conversation with your SSO. The purpose of such a conversation would be for the both of you to come to a respectful and appreciative understanding about how you each differ in your personalities.
Moms often don’t like talking about getting angry with their daughters. They often tell me that it brings up feelings of guilt and shame; “how can I be a good mom if I get angry at my kids?”
The fact is that all moms (and SSOs) get angry at some point in time. That’s normal. Anger is a feeling. It’s what you do with your anger that differentiates what is or is not an optimal behavioral response.
The first key to determining your and your SSOs anger meter is to learn how to distinguish between what is annoying and what is angering.
An annoyance is something that gets on your nerves but which you can easily let slide and does not cut off your mental and emotional connection to the source of the annoyance.
Something that is angering usually stems from your feeling/being physically &/or emotionally hurt and which disrupts the “circuitry” of connection you have with the source.
Annoyances that are not addressed early can easily become angering material.
Having a conversation with your SSO about what is angering about the given daughter issue/interaction/behavior is a great place to start determining your anger meter.
Let’s face it: parenting is about giving. As a mom, you give on so many levels and in so many arenas. There are times that you just feel spent. (“I have no more to give.”)
It’s likely that your SSO is feeling the same way, too. They just experience the depletion differently that you do.
Being in a “spent” state means you’re running on empty. And when that happens, you and your SSO are more likely to “get short”—not only with your daughter, but also with each other.
So, taking a moment to check in with your SSO about where your “tank” is would be important information to discuss rather than assume. Additionally, you will want to find out from each other what in particular might you each need to “fill your tank” to replenish your energy for the tasks of life as a parent. Then, take it one step further and give that to each other.
For example, you may need to “get a break” to see a movie with friends; or your SSO may need to (finally) go to the gym. Discuss how you each can help out more to facilitate the tank-filling activity.
This last consideration—engagement willingness—is the most important. You will need to determine how willing you and your SSO are able and willing to engage:
- With an open mind and heart regarding the parenting matter
- With you regarding listening and actually hearing your perspective
- With your daughter in a different manner in light of what you both discuss and agree on.
If you are hesitant or unsure about your or your SSO’s ability or degree of willingness to engage in any of those areas, then you may want to consider getting some outside assistance from a state-licensed mental health and/or family therapy professional. Doing so will be an investment in you, your SSO, and your family that will bring dividends in the long-run, moving you towards being on the same page.
©Dr. Michelle Deering & Curative Connections LLC. All Rights Reserved.