Quite often, conflicts in parenting style can lead to marital breakdown and worst, it manifests itself during the divorce process. It is clear that we are born and raised differently and no one shares the same childhood experience. As a parent, we tend to have different expectations for our child and because of this, your spouse may not approve what you want best for our child.

It is inevitable to have differences in parenting style. The question is how should the parents resolve it in a constructive and amicable manner. This will prevent a marital breakdown. The good news is that the differences exist because both parents love the child. But if the conflicts are seen or felt by a child, then the child may be affected.

How the Court will deal with conflicts

When the couple is unable to resolve the conflicts, thankfully relief can be sought from the Family Justice Courts. But to avoid an unpalatable court order, it is still best to resolve the conflicts out of court. In the court, the Judge will consider the welfare of the child as paramount and in addition, the followings are considered:

  • Wishes of the parents.
  • Wish of the child if the child is of age to express an independent opinion.

How to avoid going to the Court

The author has made many observations in his years of matrimonial practice and he suggests the below techniques can be adopted to resolve the parenting conflicts:

  1. Both of you should develop good communication skills. For example very often, we got excited and forgot to listen. Hence, you should pause your activities and listen to your spouse. When you are responding, practice using positive words such as ‘How can I help?” instead of “calm down“, “Can you use a softer voice” instead of “be quiet” etc.
  2. You could give your spouse the benefit of the doubt. For instance, this will involve not jumping into conclusion.
  3. Is your spouse’s or your fear/concern is real or merely emotional? Both of you should give some thought to  this.
  4. Both of you should constructively work out alternative option. Ideally the alternative option is able to address the concern of your spouse.
  5. Both of you should conduct conflict resolution away from the presence of your child or away from the earshot of your child.
  6. If need be and appropriate, you should engage tactfully the opinion of your child (if he or she is of age) but do not ask your child to choose side.
  7. Exercise patience, forgiveness and self-reflection on your part.
  8. You could have faith in your spouse’s proposal after all he or she loves your child too.
  9. Your child will be positively affected if you praise your spouse in the presence of your child.
  10. To this end, you may show this article to your spouse.

Getting other help & not going to the Court

Both of you can consider visiting any of the government agencies that helps a couple to resolve parenting conflicts and assistance. They are: Care Corner Centre for Co-Parenting,HELP Family Service Centre, PPIS As-Salaam Family Support Centreand Thye Hua Kwan Centre for Family Harmony @ Commonwealth.

Michael Low