Talking About Parental Values
Before we had children, I always thought Steve and I saw the world in
the same way. But now it sometimes seems we are miles apart in our basic
views of family life and how to raise our children. We need to talk
about them but where do we start?
Parents often work out their differences informally, but sometimes,
you'd benefit from a process that's a little more structured.
Try to set aside time to talk about the values that guide your
parenting, using the questions below. This should be an empathic
exploration of how each of you feels rather than an attempt to change
anyone's mind. Really try to understand how your partner came to feel
the way he does, and encourage him to do the same.
How you approach being a parent:
What does it mean to you to be a parent?
If parenthood were pie divided into four slices‹direct child rearing,
housework, coordinating with each other, and providing for the
family‹how big is each slice for you?
How does your personality affect your parenting?
How has becoming a parent changed you as a person?
How you want to raise a child:
What do you think are the most important things to give a child the age
of our own?
From your own life experiences, what do you feel are important personal
characteristics you'd like to see our child develop? What are the top
three or four? Is there a number one?
There are three central aspects to parenting: nurturing, disciplining,
and supporting learning and achievement. Is there one that's most
important to you? If a parent can be high, medium, or low on each
aspect, how do you think you should be?
What do you wish your mom had done differently? Your dad? How has that
affected the kind of parent you want to be?
How did your parents work out their differences in parenting styles? How
has that experience affected the ways that you approach working out
differences with me?
Your values in action:
Do any of your values related to raising a family pull in different directions?
How do you feel you have been able to act consistently with your values
as a parent? How do you feel you have not?
How do you feel you have become more skillful as a parent? How would you
like to become more skillful in the future?
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