Reconciling a Difference in Parenting Styles with Your Partner


Parenting is a thankless, time-consuming, stressful job where you are on the clock 24/7. Working as a unified team with your partner can be challenging, especially when it comes to raising children. Arguments and disagreements are inevitable. When parenting styles clash, kids receive mixed messages about how to act and what to expect in response to their behaviors. As a parent, it is important to be on the same page as your partner in order to maintain consistency for your children.

The Four Parenting Styles

There are four main parenting styles that each have a different balance between control and warmth. These styles explain how each parent may handle discipling their children.


These parents can be strict and exert a high level of control over their children. They may show little to no affection or warmth. When it comes to discipline, these types of caregivers will often yell and punish without trying to understand the reasoning behind the child’s behavior. These children may grow up being too obedient. They may need constant validation and permission from others.


While these parents are also strict about the rules they enforce, they balance it out with high levels of affection as well. An authoritative parent may have a discussion with the child about why the behavior was bad while also trying to understand why the child engaged in the behavior in the first place. Children will grow up with a better understanding of their emotions and how to respect social norms.


Caregivers will show lots of love and affection to their kids, with little to no boundaries. They often respond with no punishments and may ignore the negative behaviors altogether. Instead, they may try to sway the child by appeasing them or giving them gifts. While kids may have high self-esteem when they are older, they may struggle with problematic behaviors and can find themselves in trouble more often.


Little to no care is shown from parents with this style. They may not discipline, nor will they show much warmth. No clear rules are set, and behaviors are often ignored. Children may grow up to struggle with self-esteem, learning, social norms, and how to behave appropriately.

How to Parent with Different Styles

When caregivers disagree, this can cause strain in the relationship. Parents may feel misunderstood or undervalued and give up trying to parent altogether. Here are some strategies to try if you find yourself at odds with your partner:

  • Explore each of your parenting styles. Embrace the fact that they are different and identify the strengths and weaknesses. Where one parent lacks, another parent can provide strength.
  • Develop family rules. Set a time for a family meeting, children included, and discuss rules for everyone in the family to follow. Explain the importance of rules and encourage communication between all members. Ask the kids their thoughts on punishments if a rule is broken.
  • Present as a unified front. It can be easy to undermine your partner if you don’t agree with them, however this shows the children that you do not respect one another. Support decisions made even if they are ones that you personally would not have done. If there’s a conflict, talk about it privately.
  • Learn together. Explore more in depth the types of parenting styles mentioned above. There are so many resources for parents out there, from classes, to support groups, and even books. Research together and find the best methods for your family.

If you and your family find that these strategies are not working, family or couples counseling can help. Having a therapist present may help you understand the family dynamics, and which methods will work best when parenting children.

Reach out and schedule your first session today!

Our family therapists are happy to offer mental health support across the state. We have offices throughout the Valley of the Sun including Phoenix, Anthem, Online, and Scottsdale.  To start your therapy journey with Crossroads Counseling, please follow these simple steps:

  1. Contact Crossroads Counseling
  2. Meet with a family therapist
  3. Start becoming a better parent and partner!

Next Steps

Parenting is challenging!  We could all use a little help?  Call us at 623-680-3486,text 623-688-5115, or email  You can ask all the questions you have and see how we can help you with parenting.   Our offices are conveniently located throughout the Valley of the Sun including Phoenix, Anthem, and Scottsdale. We would be honored to support you in better understanding your relationship. You can start your therapy journey by following these simple steps: