“United Parenting”…there are many parenting myths that float around a new couple like a bothersome swarm of flies. And like most parenting myths, I encourage you to swat them at the nearest opportunity. This particular one is called “united parenting”. The story around this myth goes something like this: for a couple to be successful parents (and thus have a successful marriage) they must agree on everything! They must have a united front in the face of this awesome force know as child/ren. Any crack in said defences will lead to certain doom. Fun huh? Doesn’t it fill you with enthusiasm when it comes to uniting families?!
Let’s face it. If you are in the process of getting married and are bringing children from previous relationships into the mix, aren’t you terrified it will turn into a scene from the Dennis Quaid film “Yours, Mine & Ours”? Where the parenting styles clash to the extent of full blown chaos?
It doesn’t have to be this way.
Both parties enter their new found relationship with very clear ideas as to what a “mom”, “dad” and “parent” means. You have in your mind a story of the role, how it should be played and what “success” in that role looks like. To add to the fun, most likely you will have the same criteria for the concept known as “offspring/child/daughter/son”. Where did all this come from? It came from your parents; grandparents; friends; influential figures; culture; religion and more. We tend to think of these parenting beliefs as rock solid facts. Truths. Values and Morals. As solid as this table that I sit at.
If this were so, how come your dearly beloved has a different idea of “parent”? Are they wrong and you are right (good luck with that honey!)? Nope! They are simply another form of myth, albeit a personal one. They are a set of stories you were told which you accepted, then retold. It isn’t truth, it is personal thought, through which you filter and see the world. The label of “truth” is then slapped on it and it seems to be reality!
Once you start to see how the role of thinking colours your relationship with your partner and your/their children you can start to let go of your stories of what your united family “should” look like and how everyone “should” behave.
You now have the opportunity to re-examine parenting and parenting as a couple. Your partner will have their ideas and you will have yours. Neither are right. Neither are wrong. You will understand that they are both based on personal thinking and that you probably won’t agree (which makes it even more fun and delightful when you do agree!).
Once you are both free from your old thinking patterns you have the opportunity to be inspired! New ideas for solutions will start to occur to you (because finally they can make themselves heard above the din of your old parenting ideas!). You discover flexibility, creativity and loving new parenting techniques and solutions. You will create something new for your new family that is designed purely for your family’s specific needs and quirks. Is it perfect? Another myth! But it is authentically yours and will be spectacular!