Im pretty sure this would be the right place for this topic...
So i just started dating someone about a month and half ago. DS is just over a year, his father has never been involved in his life.
The man i'm dating has two kids 4 and 6. so far i have noticed that are parenting styles are quite different. Im an advocate of AP and he is definitely more strict and firm with his children. He doesn't spank but he does raise his voice, something I don't do often. He has made small comments here and there about my parenting style, that i need to be more firm with my son, that he whines to much because i baby him, things like that. I have always taken my son's whining and crying as a sign of his communicating, but i have noticed that he has entered into the temper tantrum phase, so its a huge transition for both of us.
The man i'm dating and i are super compatible on many other levels except our parenting style. so my question is this: is that deal breaker? He hasnt ben exposed to AP much, and he grew up in a very traditional and strict family, so its probably his instinct to revert back to that. might he warm up to the idea of AP as time goes on? any advice? I'm new to the dating scene with a baby.
any comments and advice would be appreciated!
Hmm, that's a tough question, especially since you haven't known him very long. I live with my SO now, and my parenting style (more on the AP side) has definitely dominated (his style was pretty erratic...sometimes too lenient letting the kids do whatever they want and then all of a sudden turning into super strict and yelling) since the move, but that's because I am the dominant person in the relationship. If you are the more passive person, you may find you're unhappy with how he treats your son. I think it will at least partially depend on how the dynamics of your relationship evolve. In the meantime I would definitely suggesting talking about parenting styles with him by telling him about you and your parenting style and why you choose it and see how he reacts. It is best not to assume he will change.
My DH wasn't a parent before we met, but he was a school bus driver. He also grew up in a pretty strict household. So the majority of his interactions with kids were safety issues where he needed them to comply NOW, over the sound of a large engine. That didn't translate well to parenting... the kids often felt bossed around because they were accustomed to "I see shoes all over the floor, come help tidy please." and not "PICK UP YOUR SHOES! SOMEONE IS GOING TO TRIP!" Really? In the next 3 seconds someone is going to trip over the shoes and split their head open and DIE TO DEATH!? It took a while to get him to see that the kids will (usually) happily do what he wants them to when he asks them politely.
The flip side of that was,you have to parent a little differently when you're single. I only had so many resources and had to be careful picking my battles. When we moved in together, that changed, and he woke me up a bit to that fact. I had support to step up my expectations just a little bit. A few more battles actually become worth picking, because I've got someone to spell off with a bit. He can take the cranky kid for a walk to blow off steam while I go take a shower. He can talk them through the last few math questions when I'm ready to say "Fine, just see what your teacher thinks about you not finishing it!" Or convince them that maybe supper isn't as gross as it looks, a bite won't kill them. That wasn't the case at a month and a half, but I just wanted to say that I had to compromise too, there was room for that and it did the kids good.
Have you explained to him that your DS is just starting to leave the baby phase and you're working out how exactly you want to deal with tantrums and the like? Is he open to suggestions from you about parenting? Is he disrespectful to his kids? Does he hear them out if they have a complaint? Is he able to apologize to them if he was wrong about something? I think kids can adjust to a lot of different parenting styles as long as they feel safe and heard.
~Teresa, raising DS (Jan. 02) and DD1 (Jun. 04) and DD2 (Dec. 11) with DH.
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