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A healthier parenting dynamic for tough times



When the “good cop, bad cop” routine doesn’t cut it

A healthier parenting dynamic for tough times


Many individuals in two-parent households have different styles of caregiving. Even in the best of times, these mom/dad duos – or mom/mom, dad/dad, parent/grandparent, whatever – raising families under one roof will inevitably experience friction. Accusations from one parent to another of undermining, “spoiling,” lax safety protocols, and questionable judgment  are not uncommon. With the Covid-19 Pandemic forcing more families to work from home while caring for remote learning kids, these conflicts can – and have – become more pronounced. Dr. Rebecca Schrag Herschberg, writing for PsychologyToday, offers some helpful tips for how to navigate some potentially intense parenting problems.

As Dr. Herschberg puts it: “Since [the Covid-19 pandemic], many more adults have been working from home. Which means many more parents in two-parent families are seeing exactly how the other one does business – and they don’t always like what they see.”

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Unfortunately, the resulting tension comes at a time when children need consistency and security more than ever.  But Dr. Herschberg’s advice is helpful and hopeful.

Among other things, she suggests talking about your parenting values. She offers links to a Values Worksheet. Ultimately, realizing you’re both coming from the same place, with the same goal of raising a good kid – can certainly help.

Dr. Herschberg advises recognizing “root commonality,” in divergent parenting styles. For example, you both don’t want your child to be addicted to their iPad, even if you go about dealing with that differently. These talks “can foster mutual understanding and empathy that sets the stage for more effective co-parenting.”

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Speaking in “concrete, actionable terms” is important. How, exactly, will you both move forward? How can you hold each other accountable in supportive ways? She offers yet more ACT worksheets.

Acknowledging that your child’s relationship with your partner is going to look different from the one they have with you is also important. As Dr. Herschberg puts it: “Sharing parenting values and agreeing on the steps needed to embody those values, does not mean the goal is to create two parents who are clones of each other. You are different people, with distinctive backgrounds, personalities, and ways of being in the world, and – hopefully and presumably – your child will be the richer for that.”



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