10 Parenting Decisions My Wife and I Fight About the Most

My wife and I have had our fights and disagreements like many married couples out there, but, surprisingly, we haven’t had all that many fights or disagreements about parenting.

And it still seems odd to me. Something as important as parenting seems like it should be the topic that draws lots of passion and, consequently, disagreement. After all, Casey and I were both raised in very different households with very different parenting styles.

I think it is natural for new parents to look back at their lives to see what good things their parents did and to want to incorporate those positive parenting decisions into how they choose to parent. Similarly, new parents can look back at their lives to see what didn’t work for their parents and they try to prevent themselves from making those same decisions.

Not every child is the same, however, so it is quite common for one parent to view a particular parenting decision as a positive and for the other parent to view that exact same decision as a negative.  This has probably been the biggest source of any disagreements Casey and I have had when it comes to our daughters.

These are some of the situations where our parenting styles tend to clash:

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  • Discipline 1 of 10
    Discipline
    I was raised in a home with strict rules that required strict adherence. So I anticipated teaching Addie to obey at a young age as well. I worried that she would never learn how to behave otherwise. This meant that when we went to church, Addie was required to sit still on the church pew and to remain seated throughout the entire service. Obviously, that's a pretty difficult thing for a 2-year-old to do. Casey took a much different view. She would have allowed Addie to freely roam the chapel so long as she did not climb up onto the organ bench and start pounding out a tune in the middle of the sermon. This battle went back and forth, week after week, and I don't think we ever really came to a conclusion. But I can already tell with Vivi that we have both moved significantly closer to a common ground. We don't let her roam the aisles, but I'm a bit more flexible, too.
  • Sleep Training 2 of 10
    Sleep Training
    This was one of our more heated arguments. I worked nights when Addie was a baby, which meant that I went to sleep at 4 p.m. and woke up at 10 p.m. to get ready to go to work. My room was also right next to Addie's room. Casey wanted to let Addie cry in spurts until she learned to fall asleep on her own. I couldn't stand to hear my little girl cry, so at the smallest whimper from Addie I would usually get out of bed and rock her to sleep. Second, I couldn't sleep with Addie crying anyway. A person can only go so many weeks with an hour or two of sleep per night. This never really was a problem with Vivi. I'm not on a weird work schedule anymore, and Vivi has been pretty good about falling asleep on her own.
  • Television and Movies 3 of 10
    Television and Movies
    I love TV. I'm not ashamed to admit it. And I watched a heck of a lot of TV as a kid. If I had a day off, I'd choose to go to a water park. Or I would gladly flip on the TV and watch for hours. Consequently, Casey and I had a few run-ins when Addie started becoming interested in television shows. We argued over the amount that she should be allowed to watch. Casey wants Addie's TV time to be limited to an hour or two per day during the summer and less than an hour during the school year. If I were a single parent, Addie would probably get two to three hours of TV per day. It's not that I disagree with Casey's decision, either; it's just that it isn't all that difficult for Addie to convince me to watch TV with her. I'm also far more liberal on the types of shows that Addie watches. I want to watch my childhood classics with her, like The Goonies and Ghostbusters. Casey doesn't always agree.
  • Chores 4 of 10
    Chores
    So far, Casey and I haven't been on the same page about chores. My parents had a list that I had to complete each day before I could go play at a friend's house. And it was pretty extensive. I had to find 5 acceptable jobs around the house to complete and then I had to write them on the jobs chart for approval. I had to scoop the dog poop and pull a five-gallon bucket's worth of weeds each day. I had an assigned portion of the dishes to do each day as well! Throw in wood-splitting and mowing duties and a good chunk of my day was gone. I would like to put something similar in place for Addie, but so far nothing has happened. I'm not sure if Casey disagrees with the tactic or if she just doesn't want to have to be the one to enforce it on a daily basis, but we're still coming to a consensus on this one.
  • Overly Dramatic 5 of 10
    Overly Dramatic
    I get called out on this one pretty regularly. Although I think I've gotten much better than I used to be. When Casey threatens Addie with some discipline, she fully plans on following through. I, on the other hand, have no real intention of following through on my various threats. So when Casey hears me tell Addie to clean her room or "I'll throw all of your toys in the garbage," she expects all of Addie's toys to be thrown in the garbage if Addie does not clean her room. I was thinking that it's more of an expression...
  • The Daddy Effect 6 of 10
    The Daddy Effect
    This disagreement really ties into the last disagreement. Let's face it, these two girls have me wrapped around their finger. To be fair, Casey gives me a particular look when she wants something and she seems to have taught Addie how to give me the EXACT same look. Addie uses it to perfection and any threats I may have given become thoughts of the past once that look comes out. Vivi has started working on her look too, and I'm fairly certain Casey didn't teach it to her. It's either a trait from Casey's side of the family, passed down through the generations or it's a girl thing.
  • Schedule Patterns 7 of 10
    Schedule Patterns
    This was really an issue when Addie was an infant. Casey had read several parenting books and decided that Addie had to be on a consistent schedule. Everything in life rotated around that stupid schedule. Addie had to eat at a certain time, she had to nap at a certain time, she had to go to bed at a certain time, we had to be home at night at a certain time, and on and on. I hated that schedule. I wanted a bit of my old life back, which meant having some flexibility so that we could go out and do things in the evenings. With Vivi, however, it was the exact opposite. I wanted Vivi on that schedule and Casey wanted to have that flexibility to go out and do things. Go figure.
  • Modesty of Toys 8 of 10
    Modesty of Toys
    I never really thought about the modesty of toys when I was a kid. Most of my He-Man figures barely wore pants and I never really thought of them as being immodest. When it came time for Addie to get Bratz dolls or Monster High dolls, I didn't think anything of it. But it was a really big deal for Casey. Ultimately, we compromised. Casey told me Addie would not be having any Bratz dolls whatsoever. But she said that it would be my decision whether Addie could have a Monster High doll. When Addie got her third Monster High doll, and the doll showed up in the mail with a skirt so short the doll's belly button was visible, I began to rethink my decision.
  • Rescue Pets 9 of 10
    Rescue Pets
    For Casey's baby shower gift, I decided she could get a cat. I meant a kitten. I didn't want one of those broken rescue cats that had been someone else's pet. I wanted a pet that didn't know any other owner. Casey has a bleeding heart for rescue animals, so she ignored me. She didn't find just any rescue cat, either. She found the only rescue cat that was on clearance. An $80 cat marked down full price. The Humane Society couldn't give this cat away. Not that I could blame them. It's missing half an ear, only has one eyeball, and somehow ended up with close to 28 toes. I'm not going to come right out and admit I was wrong about the clearance cat, but I'll just say that that one-eyed cat that I call "The Winker" sleeps on me every night and follows me around like we're best friends.
  • Job Competition 10 of 10
    Job Competition
    This has been the biggest source of disagreement in our marriage. Is my job more difficult than Casey's job? We've had this argument well over 500 times and that's sad to admit. The biggest reason for these arguments is that we each want the other to admit that we don't have it easy. I go to work early in the morning and I think about very complicated tasks and read lots of complicated material and participate in complicated mental combat (it's the only way I can make a lawyer's job sound cool). By the time I come home from work, I'm mentally drained and pretty tense from all the pent-up stress. On the other hand, Casey stays home with Addie and Vivi and meets their every need all the while doing an excellent job furthering her career in social media. Her job isn't easy. I've tried it a few times and I don't envy her. I've come home on occasion and wondered why she looks like someone just killed her puppy. Thankfully, since we recommitted to our marriage this disagreement hasn't really been a problem. We each recognize that we each have difficult tasks each day.

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