Dating Someone With Different Parenting Styles: 3 Ways To Overcome It

Dating someone with different parenting styles can be very challenging with unmet expectations especially if both of you have different values and you are trying to impart this to your children in the future or even at the present moment if one of you is a single parent.

Whether you are dating someone who is a single parent or you are dating someone who has never been married before and has no kids, but the both of you are planning to have kids in the future, or maybe you are single parent and you are dating someone with a completely different parenting style and you are wondering how to bridge the gap between the both of you, you’ve come to the right place as I will shed some truths that I’ve learned during my dating experience in navigating differences in values when it comes to parenting.

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I’m Jasveena and I have been blogging since 2013, documenting my experience as well as helpful professional resources and tips I found online in seeking meaningful relationships and connections, and I am here to share them with you so that you are not alone in cruising through this journey called life that may seem like a lonely path.

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My Experience

A lot of issues when it comes to parenting actually stem from the opinions that couples get from their sides of the family. It is usually not difficult to raise a kid as a couple because it is easier to come to a middle ground as a couple when you sit together in order to identify what works best for your own kids. And in most cases, differences in values stem from how the couples grew up in the past whereby that would be a stark difference in values, and merging these differences is the primary challenge. 

When I date, I make it a point to see what values their family grew up in and also if they take part in house chores or if they take responsibility for taking care of the nephews and nieces before, or even their own pets as these will indicate how this person views parenting as a whole. 

I will give you a real-life scenario for you to use in your own dating life. So, I was dating a guy who wanted to have kids as soon as he was married. And he apparently is fond of kids and he likes to be around kids. However, we went to the cinema to watch a cartoon movie, I think it was The Rock’s movie or something. It was a kids-friendly theater hall and there were a lot of kids playing in the mini playground that was built inside of the theater. And he was complaining that it was loud and noisy and that parents should never ever bring kids to the theater.

So, someone who thinks that he wants to have children as soon as possible once he is married and at the same time thinks that children should not be allowed into a movie theater, cannot be a great parent. He’s probably just wanting to have kids for the sake of it and will not tolerate the discomforts that arise from parenting. 

If you pay attention to people and how they behave, it can be very telling and it will give you all an idea if the both of you are a match or not.

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3 Major Differences in Parenting Style

  1. Bringing Values From Two Different Families

Dating someone with different parenting Styles actually starts with different values two people bring from two different families. From small differences like food to big ones like culture and languages spoken, if couples do not have an understanding of how to merge different value systems and cultures when they get married and have their own kids, it can lead to a lot of dissatisfaction and also the erosion of one’s cultural values.

Usually, the dominant partner will determine parenting style, and this will result in the other partner’s preference or family value that he or she grew up in being sidelined.

  1. Blending Cultural Differences

So, if a couple grew up speaking different languages at home and as a result, this becomes one of the major cultural differences that they need to navigate when they are building their own family, communicating how to bridge the gap is crucial so that children understand both parents’ cultural identity.

People like Jassa Ahluwalia and Elizabeth behind Eli Kutty Instagram page are doing a fantastic job in ensuring that both cultures from parents that come from different backgrounds are retained when they have kids. Jassa is the guy behind the “Both not half” movement who wants to emphasize that children born to mixed parents are not half of each race. Jassa is an English and also a Punjabi. Elizabeth, on the other hand, has a stepmother whose mother tongue was not picked up by her dad when she was growing up. As a result, they did not get to learn her stepmother’s language. When she married a Keralite, she made it a point to learn Malayalam.

  1. Who Takes Up Majority Roles In Caregiving?

One of the crucial issues that crop up in parenting is the responsibilities and who takes up the majority of the roles in caregiving. Shared parenting responsibility is something really crucial and usually people who do not have an idea of how parenting is supposed to be done, have not actually given it a thought and I have not seen myself as a parent yet. As a result, they rely on their partner to design most of the things that are related to parenting, leading to satisfaction in the partner who is doing the vast majority of parenting chores.

This is also true when it comes to educating kids, assisting them with their homework from school, and planning for their future ahead. When one partner takes on fewer responsibilities, the other partner tends to monopolize parenting and have more power over their kids.

Dating Someone With Different Parenting Styles: 3 Ways To Overcome It

  1. Emphasize Shared Parenting Responsibility

When dating someone with different parenting styles, it is extremely important to emphasize shared parenting responsibility so that both parents have a say in how their children are being brought up. Because, if one parent does not really participate in parenting, it will lead to the other partner making most of the decisions and therefore creating an imbalance in the way parenting is done. 

Shared parenting responsibility also gives both partners the room for sufficient rest when needed and ensures that the couple stays happy in their relationship.

  1. Balancing Goal-Orientated Vs Care-Free Parenting Styles

I’m sure you have come across the term helicopter parent. Usually, it is the mothers who are very rigid when it comes to parenting as opposed to fathers. Fathers can be very carefree when it comes to parenting. However, when two parents have different parenting styles and children naturally want to the closer to the parent who is more carefree, it can create tension between the parents because one is goal-oriented whereas the other one is carefree. Children will eventually prefer one parent over the other.

Therefore, parents need to have an open discussion through balance between strict parenting versus care-free parenting so that children don’t get spoiled too much or grow up in an extremely rigid environment, leaving them no room for play and fun.

  1. Anticipate Potential Problems To Discuss Ways To Compromise Earlier   

If I am marrying someone who doesn’t speak my language, one of the main issues that I can anticipate when I have kids is to decide on what language to speak to the children. So, even in the dating phase, you can anticipate what can go wrong in your relationship or even when you have become a parent and you can discuss ways to compromise earlier when you are dating.

Things like who’s gonna take turns to take care of the crying baby in the middle of the night and who’s gonna change diapers, who’s gonna buy groceries must come into the conversation that a couple is having so that differences can be identified and tackled earlier.

How To Identify If Your Partner Would Be a Good Fit In Parenting?

  1. Take Issues From Your Friends’ Experience And Ask Their Perspectives

So, I’m sure that if you are still dating and you’re wondering if your partner is going to be a good parenting partner for you. Dating someone with different parenting styles can be difficult. What you can do is actually take issues from your friends’ experiences and ask them their perspectives.

“My friend had this problem in parenting, and the couples are not having similar opinions to resolve it.”

Let them give their opinion and you can see, naturally, what they think about it and how they would address the issue.

  1. Look How They Were Brought Up

Were they brought up by parents who were careless about money, were they brought up in a situation where they were neglected by their parents, and just in general in so many other aspects of life, how were they brought up?

If your values are totally different from your partners’ values, it is going to be tough to merge the differing values. This is also generally true because if two people have different value systems, it is going to be extremely hard to even get into a relationship.

So, generally, if you can get along with your partner and find a middle ground to resolve most of your issues, you will also be able to find a middle ground when it comes to parenting.

  1. Ask Them What Aspect Of Childhood They Despise

If you ask your partner what aspect of childhood they despise, it will point to parts of the childhood that they hate and most probably this would be something that they want to change when they become a parent themselves. If you grew up being fast to wear clothes that you do not like, you may want to give your children the freedom to dress however they want because you do not want your kids to go through the same thing as you did in the past.

  1. Look At How They Share Responsibilities At Home

Dating someone with different parenting styles is difficult. If you want to know what kind of parenting partner you’re going to have once you have kids in the future, look at how they share responsibilities at home. Are they helpful when it comes to household chores? How were they in their past relationships? What are the things that you noticed them doing for the previous partners?

If they already have kids, how are they taking responsibility to fulfill their parenting obligation with their ex-partners? Are they responsible or are they neglecting their obligations? If they are neglecting their responsibility, they will do the same when you have kids.

  1. Do They Like Kids and Prior Experience Handling Kids

One thing about people who have experienced handling kids before is the fact that you can gauge how good they are when it comes to kids. It does not need to be someone with a job that requires them to attend to kids. It can be experiences that stem from taking care of the nephews and nieces. Do they actually like kids? What aspects of parenting can they help with? 

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Can a relationship work with different parenting styles?

Dating someone with different parenting styles can be challenging. However, having differences in parenting style can be a good thing because children will benefit from two different styles of parenting and therefore, instead of making the differences tear a relationship apart, you can together work as a team to be good parents for your kids.

What happens when two parents have different parenting styles?

When parents disagree about discipline, expectations from children, and various other aspects of parenting, children can feel confused and they may take sides as they tend to like the less strict parent more. Therefore, it is crucial for parents to have an open discussion in order to mitigate the differences in parenting styles so that it does not become a disagreement and create confusion among children.

Is it OK for parents to have different parenting styles?

It is okay for parents to have different parenting styles as long as they know how to balance it and they can work together as a team, instead of working against each other and harboring anger towards each other. If two parents are co-parenting children, it is more important to have an understanding of how to raise children together although they are no longer a couple.

How does parenting affect relationships?

Parenting can certainly affect relationships because as parents, couples will have less time to spend with each other and therefore this can strain sexual relationships among a couple. Therefore, communication and understanding are really important in order to make sure that intimacy in a relationship is intact even after childbirth.

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