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10 Ways to Introduce Your Parenting Style to Your Family

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Everyone parents differently. And often one of the biggest differences is between generations. We think that's why we often see moms in the Mom365 Community struggling to get family members to respect their parenting choices--on everything from foods to bedtimes to discipline. If you have a current issue, or expect you might run into one when your baby arrives, we have some tips to help you approach the subject--kindly yet firmly--and even try to get family members to treat your kid(s) as you would.

Discuss Your Ideas Pre-Birth

a woman looking happy while holding up a pregnancy test

If your little one isn't here yet, break your family in as soon as possible. If you grew up getting spanked but you don't want to use corporal punishment, ask your parents why they made the choices they did and let them know you're thinking of trying something else. Some families are rigid and will have trouble with change—getting them used to your parenting ideas early on can make it easier for them to accept your rules when baby is finally here.

Offer Books on Your Chosen Parenting Style

a pregnant woman looking sick

Ask your family to read up on your preferred style. If you don't think they'll be receptive to flipping through the pages of a book, send them an email with links to a few websites that discuss the techniques you're planning on using. Hearing from experts in the field might make it easier for your family to accept your choices.

Help with Child-Proofing

a woman stretching out in a sunny field

If part of the style-difference issue is a complete lack of child-proofing, help set things up yourself. Bring baby gates with you when you visit to block off unsafe rooms, store outlet covers in a Ziploc bag so that you can quickly plug them in when you get there, and remind your family before you get there to put any breakables on high shelves before you visit. If they think you're being overprotective, let them know it's for their house's safety as much as your child's.

Use Facts to Enforce Your Decisions

a pregnant woman receiving an ultrasound from a doctor

It's easy to quickly get emotional when it comes to opposition of your parenting choices, but do your best to remain calm. Study up on your parenting style so that you have succinct and educated responses ready when family begins to suggest you're doing something wrong. An intelligent and well-spoken reason is harder to fight.

Lead by Example

a pregnant woman receiving an ultrasound

Use your parenting style whenever and wherever you can. If there are other small children in your family, ask if it's OK to try your techniques with them, too. If not, be certain to respect their parenting choices the same way you want them to respect yours.

Avoid Ultimatums

a pregnant woman holding up some shopping bags

It can be tempting to tell your family that they're not going to see your child until they conform to your choices, but unless their choices are truly abusive, causing such a large rift isn't the best way to solve your issues. Using threats should only be a last resort when everything else has failed and your child's safety is in question.

First Time a Stranger Notices

a pregnant woman sitting down talking to her friend

Letting your family have a win sometimes will help foster good feelings. We know that you want your little one to be organic-only, but if you let grandma give him a lollipop once in a while it's likely not going to hurt him. Showing that you can be flexible will help them give in sometimes, too.

Face Opposition with Grace

a woman looking confused with question marks showing around her

Families have a lot of history, and not all of it is good. Avoid telling them that they're wrong or make bad decisions. Focus on your choices and why you're making them--make it about you and not them. Be firm but polite, and try not to bring up old hurt feelings as examples of why you're not doing things their way.

Take Advice with a Grain of Salt

a pregnant woman holding her bump looking shocked

If your family doesn't approve of your choices, they're probably going to offer advice and opinions on how you should really be doing things. Try to understand that they think they're helping. Listen to what they have to say, but feel fine about not actually using their methods. Sometimes family just needs to think they've got a say in how you're doing things.

Always Remember: You Are the Parent

a mom holding her newborn baby

The final say is yours. What you want for your child is up to your and your spouse, and nobody else. Don't be afraid to stand up for yourself when you need to—after all, your child is the only one you have to worry about keeping happy.

 
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