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How To Blend Families With Different Parenting Styles

Do you have a blended family or do you just have a family where husband and wife like to do things differently when it comes to parenting? Well, both of those situations are very similar believe it or not. It's hard to get on the same page with parenting. 

So, how can we blend parenting styles so that there's a unified approach for the children? That's what this video is about. Since 1999, I've been teaching people about self-government. About governing themselves as parents and about teaching their children how to govern themselves as well. And people ask me this one question more than any other question I get asked. 

Well, we're getting to be a close second with the technology question, but I think this one still tops it out. And that is "How do I get my spouse to be on the same page with my parenting?" It is a struggle if husbands and wives have different ideas when it comes to parenting. 

Because they both love the children. They both want the best for the family. They both want the children to learn responsibility, respect to taking ownership of their behavior. To want to create a happy family. But they go about it in different ways. Some people are more aggressive in the way they go about it. 

Some people are more passive in the way they go about it. And if you're passive and your partner's aggressive or vice versa, chances are you're getting frustrated with each other. And it's creating more contention in your marriage or in your relationship with the children than is healthy. 

Even though I've been teaching self-government principles for so many years, that doesn't mean that I and my husband have always both been perfect at them. In fact, we've kind of nurtured each other along. But we probably had the hardest time having our family learn self-government when my husband didn't actually want to learn self-government for himself. 

That was difficult. He was done with calmly correcting children. He just wanted stuff done fast. He was stressed his business was changing. Life was overwhelming for him and he felt like "Why in the world do I have to talk so much to the children?" It kind of broke my heart, to be honest. It's really hard when you had such great unity during these foster care years like we had. And then all of a sudden to have somebody sort of bail on you. 

That was tricky. I loved him dearly but I was having a hard time respecting him. Because I knew he knew better even. Now, some people don't. I know each of us comes from different family background. We've had different parenting models for us. And we have different habits and behaviors that we have to overcome. Do you know what this means? We have to have a whole bunch of patients. 

We can't expect each other to be perfect right off the bat. It just doesn't happen that way. So, I tried to have patience with my husband. I prayed for more patience for my husband. I prayed daily that he would have a desire to go back to the way we were doing things before. 

We were having family meetings. We were discussing things in exciting and calm ways. And he bailed on all of that stuff. But I decided, "You know what? I still have a relationship with him and I have a relationship with my children? What am I going to do about that? I need healthy relationships with the children and healthy relationships with him." So, that means I can't talk bad about him to my children. And I need to be patient with him. 

But my children need to have me as an example of what to do and how to govern themselves. Otherwise, we're going to be creating a problem, a major problem. I could be ruining their lives just because I want to please somebody else or make somebody else feel like they're in control or maybe make their life quote-unquote easier. Even though I know his life wasn't easier. 

Finally, after a couple of years of prayer and patience and increased love, he looked at me one day and he said, "You know, I think I'm going to have to do this again." Because basically, he had found out that the children weren't following his instructions. They were following me but not him. They were disregarding him more. They were being more emotional with him. But with me, they were fine. And he realized there was something to that self-government stuff that I was doing. 

So, that's a little bit of my story. But how can couples get on the same page with their parenting? I don't know if the question really is blending the parenting together. There could be good bits from each side of the parenting equation but why worry about blending? Why say let's keep this of you, but that part's bad. And let's keep this of you and that parts bad. Because for most of us the way that we communicate with people is a package deal. 

We've been doing it the same way for a long time. If you're going to change one heart that includes a parent's heart or a child's heart. If you've got one heart in your family that needs help, if you're going to change that heart, you've got to change the whole group. This means if you want to put 2 different people together to do the parenting and have them be on the same page. 

You need to just scrap what you were doing before and reinvent it. You have to if you reinvent your parenting together and if it's principled, it's based on truths and not manipulations, then your hearts will change, they'll unite, your children's hearts will change, they'll unite with you too. Because of that husband-and-wife relationship. 

The unity between parents lays the foundation for a good relationship with the children. If you're going to scrap everything and reinvent it together, I can offer you some things that can be really helpful. 

Number one, decide what you will say when problems come. That's where parents run into the biggest problem. Have a plan, have a script, have it written out if you need to. In our family, I literally wrote out every word to the correction that I was going to use all the time. And I shared that with my husband and coached him through it. 

This brings me to number 2, allow yourselves to coach each other. If you make a deliberate plan heading in a certain direction toward the purpose of who you're becoming, you might need mentoring because you're going to fall back into old habits that fast. How many years have you been doing it that other way? So, you've got to plan as a couple how you're going to correct each other, how you're going to cue each other to solve these problems. 

Number 3, praise each other. That's important. You're not going to be perfect all the way along. But give each other praise anyway. Point out the good things. You know what, it's sexy to get praised, okay? It is. Everybody likes hearing how they did things well.

So, just tell them and that will perpetuate more good behavior from each other also. Some troubles can come into play if you really do have a blended family. And I need to be open about that. 

Not only are you blending 2 different histories and past together. But there are oftentimes these other parents that live in other houses. And you're blending somehow what they're doing and the effects that it has on your children in with the dynamic as well. That's hard. 

There are so many parents that I've had mentor sessions with over the years where I've tried to coach them through this process. We've seen some great success. But usually, what has to happen at one point or another is you have to decide to be okay with the fact that that other person is going to make your life harder. You can't worry about controlling what the parents are doing outside the home.

This means when your children go to visit those other parents and they come back, you might have to detox for half the week. And then you've only got half the week to do some teaching before they might go back another time. I know that's a reality. It's hard. Many people are facing that. The best thing you can do is say, "I can't control that." But my children can see something different. 

They can see this self-government teaching that has skills, that's predictable, this calm that feels safe and loving. They can see that in my home. They can also see that I love them enough to correct the problems instead of just spoil them and cater to their every whim. That's probably some of the hardest things that people face is when one parent spoils the child to try to gain favor, then it looks like that child is turning against you for a while. 

Try to have a long view. This child is going to turn into an adult. They are going to be a parent. They are going to find someone to marry. They have a long life ahead. When it comes right down to it, it's more important they see the proper example from you now even if you're not the favorite one than it is for them to think that you're the best friend. At the end of the day, when they have their own children, they'll be you. And hopefully, you've set the right example. 

I know blending parenting styles is so difficult. But you know what? Almost everybody has to do it. Because every one of us was raised by different parents who did different things. So, we just have to accept it reinvent our parenting style, and move on from there. There are a lot of different ways that I teach parents how to learn the teaching self-government parenting system so that they can get that restart, reboot that they can rescript what they're doing. 

But by far the most effective for couples is coming to our 3-day training. We call them parenting mastery training. 3 days intensive the couple together working on the skills that they need to learn to become united. Lots of times what happens is at the very beginning about half the people in the room at the training are kind of wondering why they're there. 

Because their spouse drugs them there saying, "This will be great. I want it for my birthday. Please come." And then after about the first half of a day, the one who is drug there turns to the other one and says thank you. "Thank you for taking me here. We needed this. We are doing this." Because finally, they see things clearly. 

Finally, they're on the same page. I love hearing the success stories that come from those families. They're not perfect immediately. But they know where they're going, they know the skills they need and they're mentoring each other along the way. Which is what parents are supposed to do for each other. And when they do that, their children are more secure because of that love and mentoring that's happening between the parents.

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