Co-parenting after a divorce or separation is never easy, even if you and your co-parent have managed to maintain an amicable and respectful relationship. There will likely be times when conflicts or problems occur, and this could be in part to different parenting styles.
According to research, there are four different types of parenting styles:
While it would be great if you and your co-parent shared the same type of parenting style, this is not always the case.
Authoritarian and authoritative
An authoritarian parent typically has strict rules within the household and demands that children follow them, no matter what. They expect complete obedience to their rules and enforce punishments when the rules are broken. They are often inflexible when it comes to changing the rules.
An authoritative parent’s primary concern is developing, maintaining and nurturing a positive relationship with their children. While they may have rules and enforce punishments for breaking the rules, they will usually also explain the reasons for the rules and listen to the children’s opinions.
Permissible and uninvolved
A parent with a permissible parenting style typically has no rules. They feel that rules are pointless because children will break them anyway. They might say there are rules to be followed but do little to nothing if children break the rules, believing that the children will learn from their mistakes on their own.
Children with uninvolved parents have few, if any, rules in their household. Their parents may not know where they are at any given time or anything else about their lives, such as how they are doing in school, who their friends are or what they do for fun.
Learning your co-parenting styles can help you understand each other
As you can imagine, custody and parenting time problems can quickly erupt if you and your co-parent have different parenting styles, especially if your two styles are vastly different.
A father who is authoritarian and a mother who is uninvolved are likely going to have more problems than an authoritative parent and a permissible parent, since those two styles are more closely related.
It’s important for you and your co-parent to learn both of your co-parenting styles, to help you understand why there might be conflict at times.
Your parenting style can depend on the situation
However, do not get stuck on the idea that your parenting style defines you or that you are failing as a parent if you do not act according to your parenting style all of the time. Parents are sometimes a combination of two parenting styles or adopt a different parenting style under certain circumstances.
Sometimes, your different parenting styles can cause conflicts that you cannot resolve yourselves. If that happens, you may be headed to court to resolve the problem. Custody litigation can get complicated, so you should know what to expect.