Parenting together Making joint decisions for your children

If you were planning an expedition to the Amazon the planning would be started many months before hand – decisions would be made about dates, accommodation, modes of transport, safety plans – all put in place in advance. Some decision may be made along the way as the landscape changes but the parameters are pretty much set.

Unlike a travelling expedition, with the parenting journey, many things are left open, often viewed as something we know about from our family experience.

What happens when you as parents are sitting at opposite ends of an argument about what’s best for your child?

The tension may not be expected and the views our partner has may not be as obvious as we originally thought. As parents we come from different families with different ideas and there are many issues that are ‘hot potatoes’ when it comes to parenting.

To smack or not to smack – to vaccinate or not to vaccinate – to medicate or not to medicate …  type of education …… how many children ……. so many decisions to make …….

When you cannot agree on a course of action between your selves as parents that inconsistency can cause friction. You might find your selves at opposite ends of an issue and the position you have taken will not be unfounded.

Every position we take is sitting on top of values and beliefs that you have developed from previous experiences, often from your family.

You will have heard the argument. ‘I was smacked as a child and I turned out ok.’ Your partner may not have been smacked and they turned out ok too?

When you have polarised views, sitting at opposite ends of the pole, that chasm between you may seem huge and does not lend its self to an agreed position, so what do you do?

Option 1. Fight tooth and nail for your position without consideration

Option 2. Inform yourself on the topic and make a considered joint decision

If you choose option 1 the conflict will continue and agreement will be forced by one party and continue to be a struggle.

If you ask yourself, am I responding from an informed position and consider option 2 there is at least an opportunity for a discussion. An opportunity for the left brain to engage with logic and not just the right brain with emotion – an opportunity for an agreement. You might find some common ground if you continue the discussion rather than blocking the opportunity to talk it over.

Read articles, talk to people but not just the ones you agree with, not just the articles that already support your argument – you know what that article will say – try one that takes an alternative view – give yourself time to consider what other possible views there are.

At least then the next time you have the conversation, yes conversation, not an escalated argue where your emotions are high and your logical brain is not accessible.

Between the polarised points there’s heaps of room for a conversation – it may be several conversations – the beauty of our brain is that it can take on new information, in fact it will notice new information immediately. Ideas can be reshaped, we can learn new ways – you can teach an old dog new tricks!

Unless you understand for your self and why the position you are taking is so important to you, then how can you be so sure it ‘s coming from the right place – in the best interest of your child.

As your children get older you can teach them to make informed decisions, be the well-informed teacher. – one of your many roles as a parent.

For further counselling Email DiClough.counselling@gmail.com Ph0414728884

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