Parenting styles is a hot topic to discuss, when you are considering moving in with a new partner and his or her child. It’s a discussion on how you are both going to raise all of your children together. It may get heated. Here’s top tips to keep your cool and reach agreements.

1. Find quiet time. Establish a quiet place and time when both of you are rested and available with no interruptions.

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2. Be accepting. Prepare your mind to be accepting of the other person’s opinions, culture, ideas and values. They may be quite different from yours.

3. Listen with empathy and try to put yourself in their shoes. Their child may need more time, patience and understanding. For instance, their child may need a certain type of discipline.

4. Don’t make judgement and don’t compare your child to theirs. You tried your best, and so did your new partner. Don’t make their child or your child “the bad guy.” You have been raising your child a certain way and vice versa, the best way you thought possible. In other words, don’t say, “Well, my son wouldn’t do that. Your daughter did.”

5. Don’t take it personally. Your new partner may be making comparisons or judgements. Stay calm, listen and explain your reasons for wanting to do things a certain way.

6. Respect your partner’s way of doing things. They may not change. This may be the way they want to raise their child.

7. Be open minded in the final step – negotiation. Many families with multiple children choose to discipline their own child, for example. If the parenting styles differ too drastically, this may be the way to go.

Always remember, it’s okay if this isn’t the partner for you. It’s important to discuss parenting styles between you and your new partner before you make the decision to move in together. If they clash too much, they may not be the right partner for you.

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About Debbie Ficarra

Debbie Ficarra has been the proud owner of La Canada preschool, located outside of Loa Angeles, for 13 years. Prior to becoming a mother to three daughters, Ficarra gained her childhood education, acquiring her AA in Child Development and BA and Masters in Human Development. She also took the required coursework for a degree in Marriage and Family. Ficarra then purchased La Cañada Preschool, which was a dream come true. As a divorcee, and now newly married, Ficarra also knows about working through a divorce with young children. Her main goal in life – family and at work – is to provide the best environment for her preschool students that range between the ages of two and five.