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Agreeing on Parenting Styles for Toddlers


mom and dad with two toddlers walking on beach


You and your partner won't always agree on the best way to handle your toddler’s behaviour.  That's OK. In fact, it can be healthy for toddlers to see their parents disagree - as long as they come to a peaceful conclusion.

Seeing the two of you work through your differences can help your toddler learn that people may see things differently. It also teaches them how important it is to be flexible.

However, some parents rarely agree and this can be confusing for a toddler. It can also give a child unhealthy power in the family, allowing him or her to take sides and play one parent against the other. This is especially likely if parents argue in front of a child without coming to any resolution.

Even if you disagree, you and your partner will likely be following one of the three main parenting styles. Talking about these may help you find a different path:

  • Permissive Parenting Style - Parent takes a relaxed attitude and lets children do what they want. Children know they are loved but don’t learn consequences.
  • Authoritarian Parenting Style - Parent takes control, is strict, and expects obedience. Children learn good behaviour but often with the threat of punishment and may rebel.
  • Authoritative Parenting Style - Parent is gentle but firm, is consistent, explains the reasons, and models good behaviour. Children feel secure and have self respect.

Research shows that the "authoritative" style of parenting is the most successful. It helps children grow into responsible, thoughtful, healthy and productive adults. Discuss your parenting style with your partner and see if you can both take steps towards being authoritative.

Resources & Links:
HealthLink BC: Effective Parenting: Discipline

Last Updated: August 12, 2013