Sorry I've been MIA for a while. As my clients know, I went off and had a baby! I'm starting to get back into the swing of things, literally! Today my husband and I went to the park with our two kiddos. I was side lined with the new baby which allowed me the perfect opportunity to go into observation and reflection mode.
I'll start with this: my husband and I are aligned parenting wise on the important stuff, but we still are quite different in our parenting styles. Our differences really show while at the playground.
Just yesterday I took my 3 year old daughter to the local playground, without my husband. The local playground is designed for children 5-12 years old. There are lots of big tall things to climb, fast slides, "big-kid" swings, balance beams, and the works. It is important to me that my daughter learn caution and safety (while still having fun). So when I'm with her I'm physically right there helping her find her footing, reminding her to be careful as she climbs outside of my comfort zone. I tell her she'll be able to climb higher, jump further, and slide faster as she gets bigger and stronger. She behaves accordingly. She's reserved. She wants my help doing everything. She'll refuse to try things I know she's capable of, but you know what... she's careful!
Back to today, while I was in observation mode, I see my husband and daughter playing, and I am amazed. I see my daughter moving BY HERSELF from one wiggly, dangling pod to another and another and another. This is a play structure that just yesterday I had lifted her onto one by one. My husband is right there, always one step ahead, providing enough presence to communicate safety, but enough distance to push my daughter to try new, harder things. When she's made it across all the pods I hear her say big and loud "I DID IT!" Then she moves on to the next big thing. A windy, tall ladder. She declares "I can do it by my own!" and then she does. "Come on daddy, " she says, "be careful!" and he is and she is, and they did it over and over again.
This is one of those times that my parenting yin and his parenting yang worked out well. Our daughter has developed a sense of caution but also a sense of confidence and true strength.
I have met many parents seeking help to become more aligned with their child's other parent (or the other way around), and in some circumstances it does matter that parents be aligned. However, often times our parenting differences provide a sense of balance in how our kids approach and conquer the big wide world around them.