Distant Couple

How to Have an Honest Conversation with Your Partner If You Think They Are Making Parenting Mistakes

Do you find that your partner parents your children in a different way than you do? Are some of those differences things you consider mistakes? Do you want your partner to change the way they parent, but you’re not sure how to talk to them about it?

Not everyone has the same parenting styles. This doesn’t always end in disagreements, but it’s important to know how to approach the situation when it does. Parenting mistakes are different from abuse. That means having an honest conversation with your partner about the mistakes they make is a real possibility. It means you might be able to have a constructive discussion on the subject as long as you approach it correctly.

Keep It Private

A conversation like this is not one you should have with any children around. They shouldn’t be involved in a disagreement between the two of you. They shouldn’t be pitted against either parent. That’s why discussing this in private is important.

It will also be easier to have this conversation if no one is around. Your partner is less likely to get defensive if there aren’t additional eyes on them. After all, you want to discuss parenting mistakes and how to prevent them. You don’t want to judge and accuse them.

Stay Calm

For a conversation like this to work out, it’s important to stay calm throughout. Throwing accusations won’t help. They’ll just make your partner feel more defensive. They’ll be less responsive to what you’re saying. Getting your message across without being inflammatory is key if you want this conversation to be successful.

It can be hard to stay on topic, especially if your partner gets defensive. But if you get sidetracked, you won’t get much out of this conversation either. Instead, it’s possible this may turn into an unrelated argument. This is something that can be avoided by staying calm and remembering the aim of this conversation.

Listen Carefully

It’s possible your partner may not see what they’ve done as a parenting mistake. In that case, it’s important that you don’t get worked up. Instead, try to listen carefully to what they’re saying. You don’t have to agree with them, you just have to listen. Try to frame it as a conversation and don’t try to lecture them. Your partner deserves to be heard too.

If it helps clarify some things, you can repeat some of what they say to make sure you’ve understood correctly. This can prevent things from escalating because of miscommunication.

Be Forgiving

Every parent makes mistakes. There are plenty of guidebooks out there, but they won’t make us perfect. It’s important to be lenient in these situations. Your partner made a mistake, and you’ll likely make a few of them yourself in the future.

So, this conversation shouldn’t be focused on the fact that your partner made a mistake. It should be focused on what can be done differently. It’s easier to do this when you know where they’re coming from and why they did what they did. It’s also easier if they know you’re not trying to accuse them of something unforgivable.

Seek Professional Help

If, despite your best efforts, you struggle to communicate with your partner, counseling might be a good idea. A neutral third party can help with communication. They can ensure you both get to talk and are heard.

And if you struggle as a parent, outside of any disagreements with your partner, you might benefit from counseling too. Parenting can be wonderful, but it isn’t easy.

There’s a lot of pressure on your shoulders, but you don’t have to do any of this alone. Integrative Psychotherapy Group can help you, whether you’re looking for individual or couple therapy.