“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 freerer 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!

Tammy Furey

Tammy Furey works as a coach, blogger and writer for parents who want to find more peace, calm and enjoyment from their parenting and have less stress, anxiety and depression. Tammy has been happily married for 15 years and has one daughter who she refers to as "Missy M" in her blog posts and articles. For more parenting resources, visit www.fureycoaching.com/parenting www.facebook.com/tammyfurey

6 thoughts on “The Myth of United Parenting

  1. Kate_Orson says:

    This is a really helpful post. I like the idea of starting afresh and working together to think about parenting. And I think each parent can offer complementary parenting styles – not necessarily right or wrong just different.
    But I do think it gets complicated when one parent believes in things that the other parent really disagrees with such as spanking, shouting etc.

    • Tammy Furey says:

      Getting complicated is part of the fun of two people coming together to create a new family! The problem only arises if the family focus in on the “complicated” thought and start to believe this thought! This is where it gets sticky!!!! Don’t get trapped by expectations!

  2. Elizabeth_Neil_Voss says:

    Expat parenting has torn down our old ideas of parents faster than anything ever did. We are definitely tasked with building new ones together, though.

    • Tammy Furey says:

      Yes the expat experience can be very much like that! When we move countries we adapt to new societal expectations: so too of “moving” to a new family – there are new expectations (just thoughts!) that we adapt to!

  3. Tara_McLaughlin_Giroud says:

    Looking at parenting as a belief rather than a truth is such a powerful way to approach this part of life when two clearly different people come in to create a (hate to say it) united plan when it comes to raising kids.

    • Tammy Furey says:

      …and the united plan may just be the acknowledgement that both parents (and grandparents!!!) see the world in their own unique way which will create their own unique responses ……. sometimes this may require discussion, other times understanding and a certain amount of juggling!

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