Co-Parenting with Different Parenting Styles? Here’s How to Make It Work

When you become a parent, something to consider is what you envision your parenting style to be, especially when co-parenting (and if your styles are different from one another).

Becoming a parent is a huge milestone in life, and chances are you and your spouse or partner have thought about how you plan to parent your current or future children for a long time.

mom and dad kissing newborn baby

It’s imperative to have a conversation with the person you intend to co-parent to ensure you know what you are and are not on the same page about.

Each person in the relationship can bring their unique strengths into this new role as a parent, and many different factors go into the different parenting styles you both lean towards, such as how your parents raised each of you.

In this article, we will discuss different parenting styles and tips on how to make them work together in harmony, especially when co-parenting.

Editor’s Note: This article discusses typical “gender roles” within parenthood of a mother and father, but we firmly and lovingly believe that families come in styles, blends, and mixes of all kinds.

What is co-parenting, anyway?

As defined in this article, “Co-parenting is an enterprise undertaken by parents who together take on the socialization, care, and upbringing of children for whom they share equal responsibility.”

This means that the child’s care and investment are provided both by the father and the mother (or mother/mother, father/father) in the parent-to-child relationship.

mom and dad touching newborn baby's head

The four types of parenting styles

  1. Permissive
  2. Authoritative
  3. Neglectful/uninvolved
  4. Authoritarian

You may know how you want to raise your children but not what specific parenting style category it falls under.

Being hands-on, strict, or laid-back are common traits to which you or your spouse may feel drawn. A few different parenting styles have been outlined by parent and child specialists. These parenting styles are permissive, authoritative, neglectful, and authoritarian. 

1. Permissive

Permissive parenting is one in which little guidance is offered to the child, and harsh rules are not set in place. The parents that follow this style are generally still loving but let their kids make their own decisions for the most part.

2. Authoritative

Authoritative-style parenting is a common type where the parent sets clear rules, boundaries, and expectations for their child while still being very nurturing. Clear communication and disciplinary action take place in this relationship, as well.

3. Neglectful/Uninvolved

When it comes to the neglectful or uninvolved parenting style, the child has a lot of freedom and rarely gets disciplined or even communicated with. There isn’t much nurturing with innocent parents, and there are no expectations for the child.

4. Authoritarian

An authoritarian parent sets many strict rules, boundaries, and expectations with their kids. It is primarily a relationship of the parent telling their children what to do and not always explaining why. 

mom and dad holding up newborn baby in his nursery

Typical parenting styles of moms

Authoritarian

Mothers are often the more nurturing and warmer parents in the relationship, so it’s common for them to lean toward the authoritarian parenting style.

This is regularly thought of as the most beneficial style of parenting among the four we’ve outlined because it involves setting clear parent-child boundaries while also being mindful of the child’s feelings and communicating clearly with them. 

Permissive

Permissive parents still love and nurture their kids but allow them more freedom to make decisions without disciplining them much.

The good thing about the permissive style is that communication tends to be very open and comfortable between child and parent, making everyone feel more respected and understood.

Typical parenting styles of dads

Authoritative 

If there is a parent that follows the authoritative style, it generally ends up being the father figure. This parenting style comes with very high expectations for the child and a lot of discipline.

This is not always the case with fathers, of course, but in some instances, the father might have less of a bond with the child and feel the need to be more disciplined with them.

Authoritarian

Just as the mother tends to lean toward authoritarian-style parenting, it is common for the father to follow this method.

Dads that are more involved with parenting typically like this style because it allows for a great relationship with their children while still cultivating respect and having set boundaries.

Making different parenting styles work together for great co-parenting

To maintain great teamwork and a balanced family life, you and the person you’re parenting should get on the same page as soon as possible if you aren’t already. You might wonder if you can align parenting styles if you and your partner do not match up, and the answer is yes.

With any relationship, especially a co-parenting one, compromise is essential, and there needs to be a lot of open communication so everyone’s voice and expectations can be heard. 

All you need to remember is that you and your partner are a team and want to ensure your children are always happy, safe, and healthy.

Co-parenting with different parenting styles is more common than you might think, and as long as you go into this role with an understanding of one another and set intentions, you’ll be unstoppable as a team. 

Other parenting articles you might enjoy

Hello Postpartum

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Founded by new mom and self-care author Carley Schweet, Hello Postpartum aims to help fill in the gaps in postpartum care and support. At Hello Postpartum, we aim to create an accessible community where everyone can access postpartum education, research-backed articles, and support tools.

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