How can family members negotiate when their parenting concepts are inconsistent?

Editor’s note: Dr. Clove and Zhihu jointly held a round-table discussion on [raising a second child]. This article is one of the high-quality contents produced in the discussion.

Judging from China’s national conditions, the family members who need to negotiate with their children generally include their spouses and the elderly. So how to negotiate with their families should be considered from these two aspects.

How to negotiate with your spouse

Both husband and wife are the legal guardians of the children and the most important nurturers. Whether it is a nuclear family that includes husband and wife and minor children or a large family that invites the elderly to live together, both husband and wife are the masters and core of the family.

Therefore, the communication between husband and wife is the basis for a healthy and stable family relationship.

The following steps can be considered when negotiating with the spouse about the concept of raising children:

1. Welcome to participate and affirm the original intention.

Even if there are differences between husband and wife on how to take care of their children, it is worth affirming that both parties are trying to assume their own family functions.

At present, a common family dilemma is:

    The wife goes to learn various educational concepts and bears the burden of raising children, while the husband is somewhat free. The wife was so tired that she complained that her husband did not care about the family or the children. The husband was often silent in the face of complaints, even more regardless of the family.

There may be reasons behind this phenomenon, such as traditional culture, husband’s own reasons, but there is also a great possibility of the interaction between husband and wife.

When one spouse wants the other spouse to accept his own parenting philosophy, it is often easy to accidentally form a condescending pressure. The subtext is [believe me, my method is more advanced, you can do what I do].

In this way, in the long run, the other party will feel [it is useless for me to think too much, I am very capable in my work, but it seems that when I get home, I don’t understand what, and I may not be really needed]. As a result, I will instinctively avoid participating in things that make me feel of low value and gradually be marginalized.

Therefore, when starting negotiations, the first thing to do is to welcome and affirm each other’s participation.

Participation means that both parties are investing in their families and for the good of their children, which is more important than differences of ideas.

The expressions that can be referred to include:

    Dear, Please replace it with your usual name), I just read an article about parenting, I thought it was interesting, There are some places that I don’t quite understand, Come and study with me.] [Honey, When I first saw my baby XXX again (there was a problem), you XXXX (made some intervention). It’s great that you also noticed this problem. I can have you to discuss it with me.] [Dear, when I first saw my baby XXX again, you XXXX. I guess you were really angry at that time, worried that the child would continue like this, and wanted to help the child XXXX.]

2. Explore the reason with curiosity

Behind the behavior is the point of view, which is based on a series of complicated personal experiences and considerations and opinions on things.

[Accusing Behavior, Critical Viewpoint], it will easily stimulate the other party’s instinctive self-protection, and make the other party more stubborn; However, with a curious attitude, the insecurity of the other party who feels judged can be reduced as much as possible, thus being willing to tell the reasons behind it.

In this state, people will hold a more open attitude towards their own ideas, which will make it easier to accept different opinions and at the same time make it easier to detect loopholes in their own ideas.

Moreover, the more in-depth understanding of the reasons behind each other’s behaviors and views, the easier it is to understand each other and find points that can be coordinated.

The expressions that can be referred to include:

    [Dear, I found that the method you used was different from mine. Oh, please tell me quickly, what was the situation at that time and what did you think at that time? ] [Oh! So you think so, no wonder. Later, was the result the same as what you thought? ]

It is worth emphasizing that whether it is curious attitude or welcome to participate, the importance of non-verbal information such as tone, intonation and expression is much higher than the content of expression, otherwise it is difficult for the listener to really feel it.

3. Discuss differences on the basis of agreement

After getting to know each other deeply with curiosity, fully affirm the common ground, and then throw out different ideas to discuss in an enlightening way.

On the basis of solid common ground, it is easier to reach an agreement when discussing differences together.

The expressions that can be referred to include:

    [Alas, you are really painstaking for our baby behind this! [Yes, children’s study is really important, and I think so.] [Hey, I suddenly have a worry, if I do this, will it be xxxx? [Let me talk about one of the methods I have come up with. Let’s see what the advantages and disadvantages are.]

4. United Front

The relationship between husband and wife is the [anchor] of the whole family relationship.

Through negotiation, husband and wife form a solid united front, which can make children feel more harmonious and stable in family atmosphere and family rules and reduce the pressure of adaptation. At the same time, it is also the basis for reaching an agreement through consultation with the elderly.

Except in a few cases, it is often more important for couples to have a harmonious relationship and have a coordinated parenting concept than to have a coordinated parenting concept. Moreover, as long as the communication between husband and wife is smooth, they can always revise the parenting method together when necessary.

How to Negotiate with the Elderly

When negotiating with the elderly, the methods just mentioned between husband and wife are applicable. There are also some special considerations and principles.

1. Weigh the pros and cons and unify the bottom line.

When negotiating with the elderly about the concept of child-rearing, they will definitely encounter problems beyond the matter itself.

How to deal with these derivative problems often requires both husband and wife to reach a consensus first.

There are both advantages and disadvantages for the elderly to help with their children. The simplest thing is that we save labor, but the methods for the elderly to raise children are not advanced enough.

[Power] and [Obligation] need to be equal. The elderly do not have the obligation to take care of their children. If they decide to enjoy this convenience, they need to be psychologically prepared to face some troubles that follow and give the elderly some power to decide how to take care of their children.

According to their own situation, both husband and wife need to measure together which conveniences are difficult to replace, which drawbacks are difficult for them to accept, and what compromises are acceptable.

Only by weighing the pros and cons and making a choice can we face the price of this choice with a more positive attitude.

Only by unifying the bottom line can the conflicts between generations be prevented from becoming conflicts between husband and wife.

2. Whose parents communicate with each other

The more stable the relationship is, the more able it can withstand differences and conflicts, the lower the communication cost and the higher the efficiency.

Therefore, after the united front between husband and wife, the parents will communicate with each other.

At the same time, it is best to communicate in private.

When communicating with parents, the spouse is not present to be more accommodating. In addition, unless it is a particularly influential situation that needs to be stopped immediately, try to avoid communicating in front of the child, because the elderly will be very concerned about their image in the child’s mind.

3. Establish boundaries and distinguish the division of labor.

Everyone has the habit of doing things by himself and hopes to have some freedom.

Establish a clear and definite boundary to distinguish which aspects or time periods are mainly the responsibility of the elderly and which are the responsibility of both husband and wife. Giving the elderly more affirmation and respect in their areas of responsibility will satisfy the elderly’s own sense of value and make it easier to negotiate.

For example, it can be said like this: [Mom and Dad, you have worked so hard to bring me up, and now you are still helping me to take care of my children. It is really not easy. You have also helped us to take care of the baby’s food and daily life so well that we are especially relieved. Let’s take more responsibility for the education of the baby! ]

4. Vulnerable communication

Old people often use the old methods used in the past to interfere with the new methods adopted by husband and wife, and when blocked, they often say, “I brought you up with this method, aren’t you quite good?”

On the one hand, the old people’s method comes from their own practical experience and is difficult to accept [this method is wrong]; On the other hand, the elderly are more worried that they will be rejected and eliminated together with their own methods.

Therefore, when couples fight for their own dominance with the elderly, they try their best to weaken the psychological pressure brought by the method dispute to the eldest brother through weakness.

It can be said: [Mom and Dad, you see that we are also parents for the first time, and we also need you to give us a chance to learn to be parents, so that we can grow up. We also hope that our children can feel like us that their parents are wonderful and capable! ]

5. Decompress the Elderly

The common problem is that the elderly are too careful in taking care of their children. They are afraid that the children will be wrapped tightly when they are frozen. They are afraid that the children will not be allowed to move freely when they are injured. There are factors behind this, such as ideas, love for children, and fear that something will be blamed and they cannot bear this responsibility.

[If the child is touched, will the parents blame me for not taking good care of him and think I am clumsy? If something really happens, how can I tell them? This is the psychological pressure that the old man easily has. Therefore, if you want the old man to untie his children, you should pay more attention to untying the tight nerves of the old man.

Step 6: Encourage learning

In many cases, the elderly just lack new knowledge.

According to the characteristics of their elderly, they can provide some learning channels that they are most likely to accept new knowledge.

For example, some old people like to read books by themselves, so they can secretly put the books they want to learn for the old people in places that are not obvious but easy to see. Some old people are more detailed about the authority on TV, so find out which programs meet their expectations and create opportunities for the old people to see.

At the same time, we should encourage the elderly to learn through praise. Even small progress should be solemnly affirmed.

For example:

[Wow, Dad/Mom, I saw a XXX method in the book today. I thought, isn’t this the method you used when you were XXX the other day? How do you know that? ]

[Your thoughts really keep up with the trend. I am really happy that I am so willing to learn new things for the good of our baby! I have a colleague whose parents insisted on using the old method last time. As a result, the children all went wrong. Hello, so enlightened! ]