In a recent interview, Bollywood actor Shahid Kapoor talked about how he and wife Mira Rajput differ in their parenting approach. While the father of children Misha and Zain tends to be a “little obsessive and protective”, their mother is “too casual”.
“My wife tells me that I am a little obsessive and protective and that I need to calm down a little bit. I tell her that she is too casual,” The Padmaavat actor said.
When parents have completely opposing views on issues concerning their child, more often than not, they tend to convey him or her a mixed message. Besides, parents end up having serious arguments, which only disturbs the harmony at home. “This is one of the most common parenting problems. They don’t agree on how the child should be parented, especially with regard to discipline,” Dr Debmita Dutta, parenting consultant and founder, What Parents Ask, highlighted.
This does not mean that the mother and father should agree on everything. Shahid also acknowledged the need for kids to have both types of parents, who need to find the middle ground in parenting. “If both are too obsessive or both are too careless I don’t think that works, so you need to find that balance,” he said.
Talking about why varying opinions are good for a child, Dr Dutta explained, “Having two points of view in the house is good. That’s because, in the heat of the moment, we tend to think that only we are right, without even considering the other person’s opinion. So, it’s great if you are exposing your child to different perspectives since it also teaches him or her to cope in a particular situation.”
“That said, when it comes to parenting, children thrive within clear boundaries, and parents need to strive towards that,” she added.
How to deal with differing opinion in parenting
Here are some ways in which parents can work together to find the middle ground in parenting, as suggested by Dr Dutta, to ensure their child has a healthy, happy upbringing.
1. Don’t take arguments personally
One of the mistakes couples make is that whenever they disagree over some issue related to their child, they take it very personally. It’s not about them at all, it’s about the child. Parents need to think about what is best for the child. Before asserting an opinion or decision, you should be able to explain why. For example, if you think sleepovers are good for your child, you should be able to justify it.
2. Division of labour
Polarising roles as parents is one of the worst ways of creating distance between each other. In India, for instance, fathers are conventionally viewed as too lenient or too stern. This way, the child might start taking advantage and pit one parent against another. Division of labour is a crucial part of parenting, whereby each parent takes full responsibility in a given situation. The other parent can of course share an opinion, which you can consider.
3. Delegate duties
Sharing responsibilities as parents also involves delegating. When you are delegating a duty to your partner, like changing your baby’s diaper to feeding, guide but don’t micromanage, which is what most of the arguments stem from. As long as the ultimate objective is achieved, one need not worry too much.
4. Communicate with each other
Lack of communication among parents results in larger disagreements. Parents need to communicate to each other their opinion on things–from religious beliefs, social customs to safety issues concerning the child. They may come from different backgrounds and it is important that both their needs and desires are accommodated. Everybody in the family has an equal right and that’s what the child needs to learn too.
5. Stand your ground
If you want to taken seriously in the family, you will have to stand your ground. If you want to be listened to by your partner and your child, you have to communicate it clearly. Else, you will be left out.
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