Couples With Different Parenting Styles Equal Drama


Parenting styleI think I may be suffering from “nobody better mess with my baby” syndrome.

This weekend, Boyfriend 4.0 and I took the girls — his is 13, mine is 12 — to Dave & Buster’s for a little frenzied fun after I made them go on a boat tour of Mount Vernon, George Washington’s sprawling estate in Virginia. I love that kind of stuff. They don’t. So the trip to D&B was an equalizer.

They had just cashed in a million worthless tickets that yielded them a few pieces of piddly candy when Tween Princess asked me if she could eat one of her pixie sticks. I shut her down. She asked why. I think we went back and forth for a minute when my man abruptly snatched one of them out of her hand and ate it.

I was shocked, and Skylar’s face screamed pure preteen pissed-off-ness. She didn’t say anything — she knows better than to pop off to an adult regardless — but I know she was irked. And honestly, so was I. 

I’ll call the blending of parenting styles an interesting dynamic. ‘Interesting’ is such a wimpy word. In most cases, when people use it, it’s a euphemism for something much stronger. Like when you see someone in a wool sweater in the summer, you say their outfit choice is ‘interesting’ (if you are in fact not trying to get your teeth knocked down your throat). Or if your dad decides to dye his hair jet black after being gray for 10 years, you tell him it’s ‘interesting’ when he asks you what you think.

But in this case, it really does fit. It really is interesting, like being in one of those life-sized mazes they cut into cornfields in the fall. It’s like weaving and turning through your own personal sociopsychological study.

First of all, our styles are going to be way different because he’s a man and I’m a woman and, for the most part, we’re naturally going to have different approaches to problems and situations. True to convention, I’m a talker-outer while he’s more introspective — and definitely a “what I say is final” kind of parent. I can be swayed with a good presentation and reasoning which, bless my poor baby’s heart, doesn’t happen that often. But it has happened.

The eating of the pixie stick apparently was his way of shutting down her ‘why’ asking, which he felt was unnecessary because I had already told her ‘no’ and explained why she couldn’t one time. It didn’t need to go any further than that, in his opinion, so to alleviate all of the chitter chatter about the offending object of her intention, he just ate it.

Now, if I couldn’t understand why he did it when it first happened, how in the world was a 12-year-old kid supposed to get the point? I didn’t see the light bulb go off over her head like, “ahhh, perhaps I pushed it too far. My mother did say ‘no’ once.” Instead, we just stood there, confused.

There are a thousand examples of how he and I handle the raising of our youngins completely differently. But there are a lot of similarities, too. We were both young parents and we’re both single parents, so we’ve shared a lot of the same sacrifices and maturity processes. I’ve gotta tell ya that that part is a blessing. To have someone understand what you’ve been through because they’ve been through it themselves is awesome, especially in male form.  

Still, figuring out how to blend the households of a mega strong-willed single mother and a super stubborn single father — who both also happen to be only children who grew up having things go their way — is going to be what? Interesting. He thinks his way has produced what pretty much boils down to the perfect child. Of course he never came out and said as much, but I sense it.   

The Harris machine is more than a little offbeat and scatterbrained, the antithesis of the well-oiled operation he’s got going on over there. We dance and skip around to the beat of our baseline, but that’s going to have to change if The Man and I decide to make it official. I’m hoping we do. And I’m hoping these almost years of dating will make the transition into a blended family as smooth as possible for everyone involved. Here’s to hoping.

Are you part of a blended family? How did you merge parenting styles?


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behavior, family, issues


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Spike... SpikedMango

Every parents has even slightly different ways they handle things. Even couples who have been married for years and years. That's because we aren't all carbon copies of each other, and honestly, that's wonderful! As long as you're setting limits for your child and being a GOOD parent, which both of you seem to be, then those differences can be worked out and a compromise can be met. :)

You guys sound like my parents, actually. Though they divorced, they remained good friends and parented as a team still, even though they had different parenting styles. My dad was like your boyfriend. No was No and that was the end of discussion. That was almost a relief for me because I never had to worry about trying to convince him otherwise, as much as I wanted to. I always had a straight away YES or NO answer. :) My mom was like you. No still meant No, but I could talk and evaluate it with her, which sometimes worked to my advantage and other times didn't, lol! :)

I guess I say all that to say.. I believe in you guys. :)

kjbug... kjbugsmom1517

I have to say that I would have done the same thing as ur bf lol.

Kendsey Huffer

Different parenting styles are an advantage! In this case, even though it was a little bit of a shocker, I don't think it was unhealthy. We OFTEN go through the same thing. My nature is to explain things, my husband waits. If they persist, he puts an end to the discussion. They can appeal, but being argumentative and asking the "Why?" is badgering! If they are making a case they need to talk calmly and present it. I believe that it's healthy for children to have different parenting styles available. As a kid, my mother was who I went to for school work and emotional advice. My dad was always great to talk to about ideas and plans. It was huge to me that I had two people to help fulfill my needs.

Kendsey Huffer

For all you single mothers out there, I did not intend at all to imply that you aren't able to do a fantastic job, you are amazing and I respect what you do every day.  I simply DO NOT believe for an instant that two people being different from each other (to a certain extent,) is "Drama."  I think it's healthy and, as long as you agree on some basic points, spanking, God etc, then your parenting styles will compliment each other and lead to a more fulfilled partnership.

nonmember avatar lydia

I did not intend at all to imply that you aren't able to do a fantastic job, you are amazing and I respect what you do every day.
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elibee elibee

Not that you asked but I think that grabbing the thing and eating it was a b*stard cruel thing to do - what a bully! Geez she's 12, as much as she would never admit it, she's still just a kid, all she needed was a calm talk to teach her why you had your opinion and maybe come to an agreement (eat it later etc.). I praise you for not freaking out on your  your boyfriend which I would have done but think HE needs a talking to - very little respect was shown for the girl and if she had done the same, bet she would have gotten a serious talking to (oh and by the way, I am not a 28 years old doctor named lydia LOL)

Rose Savoie

my sister and I were both single moms for a time, and now are both married to men who are not the biological dads of our girls, though they are their father's in every other sense, and we always say that if it were'nt for the kids we would never fight with our husbands. 

But, as much as I get mad at him for his strict ways, I am very thankful to have someone to bounce things off of, and to make me see when my daughter is just walking all over me and step in to help out.

Mom_t... Mom_to_Skyler

Snatching and eating the candy was wrong.  Kids whine and plead for things.  It's part of being a kid. 

He taught her nothing other than he's a big bully.

Stacy DePrenda

@ Mom to Skyler, I agree!  That was wrong and I in my 'angry momma bear mode" would have probably hit him!  :)

I'm i a blended situation similiar to this one and the issue of how to handle the kids and pareting issues are the only things we fight over.  It's really gets bad sometimes! 


KDT7688 KDT7688

Although I understand he may have a different view on parenting... snatching the candy & eating it? That wasn't parenting... that was being childish himself. That's something a bully older-sibling does. Not an adult, with a child of his own.

Had he said "Your mother already said no... there is no reason to ask why"... I could respect that.

BUT, don't get me wrong, I'm not saying he isn't a good parent to his own child... or even a good person to yours... and your relationship may be great.

But before you think about merging your families... these issues NEED to be brought out into the open and discussed. You need to both create a somewhat "unified" parenting style for your new family.

I'm a mother to children ranging from young adult to 1st grade. I also have an infant grandchild. I'm newly remarried to a younger man, that has no children... so there are times where he doesn't understand my parenting, & I don't like his attempts. However, we talk about our reasoning, to each other, & work out what we feel will be best together. 

(I am also not a 28 year old doctor named Lydia... Seriously?)

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