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  • Disagreements with partner about parenting decisions

    Hi there! I am pretty new here. I hope this landed in the appropriate forum. I did a search and came up with nothing useful, although it would seem this topic had been discussed here already:

    I'm 18 weeks pregnant with my and my husband's first child. We generally agree on parenting direction and choices, but of course some things will come up that we disagree on. In general, I would like to hear some others' stories about how you dealt with making decisions (major or otherwise) that you and your partner did not agree on.

    One major one for us that we haven't really gotten into yet, just because it won't really come up for another year at least, is that I am vegetarian and my husband is not. I don't mind if our child chooses to eat meat, but I would like him or her to understand what it is and make an informed choice by him or herself....meaning probably not eating meat for the first few years until that can all be explained (another quandry...how to do that without traumatizing or inflicting guilt...another topic though).

    Another that we so far are both unsure of, but may eventually disagree on, is vaccinations....

    And this one came up today in discussion, and led to a fight: diapers. I am not fully decided either way, but am leaning towards cloth, or a combination of cloth and disposable combined with EC. My husband, however, is pretty convinced he only wants disposables, and today he saw that a friend of ours has a Diaper Genie and he now wants one. I could not in good conscience use one of those, because they ensure that those little plastic,encased diaper sausages will NEVER see the light of day again, for hundreds of years....
    ...hubby thinks I'm self-righteous (perhaps he has a point, but it's not just that to me) and acting like a dictator. To me it's about my values and feeling balanced about my choices and their effect on the planet. What are we supposed to do? He uses a Diaper Genie and disposables and I practice EC and wash cloth diapers?

    I know that more of these things will come up as we go along, and how do you deal with that? Where do you compromise? We are both kind of stubborn, so that makes it all much harder, and I know we need to get over that......sorry this is so long, I feel pretty troubled right now and could use some support. Thanks.

  • #2
    Ah yes, disagreements do happen. It's often hard to find compromises. I'd encourage you to read "Non-Violent Communication" by Marshall Rosenberg and also look at our "Marriage, Partners, and Parenting" forum that has some threads that touch closely on the issues you share.

    The main idea is to really listen and empathize with your partner's point of view. Try to understand the needs behind the communication. What ways can you meet each other's needs in meaningful ways that strenghten your marriage?

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    • #3
      Thank you....I did find a couple threads there that offered a few hints. My husband and I have done relationship workshops and have therapists we see about once a year (they don't live in our area), so we do know how to have an effective dialogue...but yeah that's not always easy!

      I would still love to hear people's individual stories on specific issues and how they worked them out. I know there are also individual threads people have created about their problems, so I am looking there too...

      Thank you for the book recommendations, I will check those out.

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      • #4
        Hi there,

        I feel for you; my husband and I have had many disagreements since our DS was born, most of them related to the fact that I am more AP minded, while he is very much for the more mainstream (?) style of parenting. We have really been working on trying to discuss our points of view at length, trying to see each others reasons for wanting to do things a certain way, and attempting to compromise as much as possible. The main way that we decide how to handle things is to watch our son and his reactions. A specific example of this was in regards to DS' sleeping. My husband was fed up with co-sleeping and frequent night waking, and wanted to try CIO. After months of fighting about this, I finally relented (under very vehement protest). It did not work, and we both decided after a few nights that this was not the right thing for our family. However, had I not agreed to try it, we might still be fighting about it.

        I think that you are really ahead of the game in discussing these things while you are pregnant. However, I think a lot of parenting is really done 'on the fly' and it's hard to say what you will do in situations until they arise. My best advice (and what my husband and I do now) is to follow the lead of your child as best you can, and to follow your instincts. It's amazing how quickly you learn what is best for your baby, and I think if you follow that, you can't go wrong.

        Best of luck.

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        • #5
          Luckily my husband will read some books if I leave them in the bathroom and I send him some stuff by e-mail and he reads it when board at work. He was not against it just wanted more information. We have had issues of disagreements like TV, toy guns, food etc that we try to work out to both of our satisfactions.

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          • #6
            Remember that both you and your husband want the best for your child, even if each person's perspectives are completely different. Both of you already love this little one.

            All parents go through a period of adjustment after their first child is born -- or, in your case, when you begin to discuss parenting. This is normal and is just something that happens. We all have certain expectations that we find the other partner does not have.

            That being said, I agree with the response that A LOT of parenting decisions simply cannot be solidified until you're in the trenches. Before I had my first baby, I was convinced I would do CIO, spanking, etc. like any other mainstream parent did. Once I had my baby, that all went out the window. A big part of it was that I was exposed to AP at the hospital and in a situation where I was looking for guidance from someone else. There will be times during your parenting that you'll turn for outside help -- and that's where Attachment Parenting International will be really useful.

            It's good to talk about your preferences now, but it's more important for each of you to talk about the why behind those preferences -- what are the values each of you has. You want cloth, he wants disposable. It could be that he's really grossed out by the idea of cleaning cloth diapers, and here's a place where you can help him understand the difference between his fear and reality -- or you may learn that he really can't handle cleaning cloth diapers. You want to wait to introduce meat in your son's diet, your husband doesn't seem to care about this point -- help your husband to see your point of view, respectfully. Use "I" statements. But be sure to listen to your husband just as you want him to listen to you. This is really important.

            Your husband sounds like he's really wanting to be involved in fatherhood. That's great! If he didn't care about your child, he wouldn't have any opinions on this stuff. Show that you care about him and that you acknowledge that he may be feeling a little uncertain about being a father. Take care in explaining to him why you really want what you want, but understand that the goal is for both of you to understand where the other is coming from. For now, just discuss -- don't try to force a decision if it's not ready to come.
            Last edited by LisaL; 12-15-2009, 05:18 PM.

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            • #7
              Does your DH explain why he's so in favor of disposable diapers? Maybe if he could put voice to it, it would make sense to you and to him what the real issue is.

              I will tell you, that with my first child I used disposables. My DD developed a HORRIBLE case of diaper rash. She was in pain, I was up nights with her, and it cost $200 just in insurance-covered medications. SO...with my next 2, I used cloth during the day (with dipey-free time in the morning and after naps) and chlorine free at night. You can probably guess--not a single bad case of diaper rash! That said, when I discussed cloth diapers w/my husband, I informed him that I would do ALL of the diaper laundering. That was a relief to him.

              It sounds like your husband (like mine) might like to go shopping and buy 'toys and gadgets.' That said, could you maybe discuss with him that HE could be the one to select, say, the stroller and car seat?

              HTH,

              AP Mommy

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