/Dear Sara, my husband and I have different parenting styles

Dear Sara, my husband and I have different parenting styles

Dear Sara,

My style of parenting is totally different from my husband’s. He is easy going and doesn’t care if the kids do what they want. I want some order and structure ad insist that our kids follow the rules. They are now old enough to go to him if they don’t like the rules and he will tell them everything is O.K. and they can do what they want.

I am now the bad guy and my husband is the good guy. I am angry and frustrated. How can I get him to stop doing this?


Dear Nicole,

You and your husband need to have a discussion someplace where your kids can’t hear you and are not involved. Maybe he feels that you are too strict with the kids and wants to defend them. Since you are angry and frustrated, try to stay calm. Write down the rules and see if you can come to some compromise.

It’s really important that the two of you be on the same page. The conflict can affect your childrens’ ability to feel safe when they can’t trust their parents’ judgement. This “taking sides” with the children not only undermines your authority but sets the kids up to play you and your husband against each other.

You have to look at yourself objectively and decide if you are too strict. If your husband is laid back and came from a family that had fewer rules, he may see you as too controlling. The reason that you see him as too lenient may be that your family had strict rules that you had to follow and this is comfortable for you.

When my kids got to be teens, my husband made a rule that the girls couldn’t date until they were 16. I thought this was too strict because my parents let me date at 14 (he dated me when I was 14). I backed him up though because I thought that it was important for parents to support each other.

If you decide that your husband is being passive-aggressive or trying to win favor with the children at your expense, then be sure to seek some marriage counseling. This isn’t healthy for your children.