When There is No Compromise: Parenting from Different Viewpoints


parenting compromise1Recently I had a conversation that was very uncomfortable for me, I found myself in the opposite “camp” of a conversation topic with an individual who I have a great deal of respect for. It was an issue of significance and one that was not just a hypothetical; it was a reality that we were facing, which couldn’t be ignored. Luckily in most of these dialogues we can chose to agree to disagree or even better, find a middle ground in which both agree upon or even concede to make a compromise.

This recent dialogue and the differences of opinions did not allow for any of these much more desired middle ground options. You see the parting of viewpoints was between myself and my daughter’s father and regarding what worldview to nurture in her. Accepting my perspective meant he had to completely resign his beliefs and accepting his perspective meant I would have forfeit a core value that I hold. Yet, here we were faced at a crossroads that dictated a response because the world sat before us the dynamics that demanded it be done.

What do you do when there is no compromise?

The topic at hand is not really as important for the sake of this writing but rather the question, “what do you do when there is no compromise?” Like I said, I have great deal of respect for my daughter’s father. He is amazing man who loves our daughter greatly. He strives to instill in her goodness, compassion, independence, and integrity. Most of the time we are 100% on the same page with the guidance, direction, and the internal compass that we impart through our co-parenting relationship. The times when we do disagree; the weightiness of the topic is usually not as heavy and one of us will chose to “not pick that battle.” We also have each made strides to meet each other in the middle. After all, we are both 100% a part of this parenting equation and in the end have the shared goal of raising a happy, healthy, and confident young lady.

I left this exchange feeling defeated, not because I made any concessions, (nor will I, as I said the topic was one that hit on a foundational element of my core life framework), but because I just could not see an answer to how this crossroads and the gap between our varying views would be bridged and I felt the our daughter was hanging in the tension of the middle. I was, and actually continue to be, lost with how to move forward. I am left to wonder how do parents, especially those parents who are not married and living under the same household, approach these situations? How do we, at least those of us who do, firmly disagree with a parenting choice of the other parent we respect, yet still maintain a united front in parenting without causing complete confusion?

To be honest, I write these words without an answer. Without a “well maybe…” or “I wonder if…” As any mother, this is one of those situations we find ourselves in our mothering, when we just do not have answers and we may begin to feel hopeless or unsure of ourselves. I am not sure how this situation is going to play out over the next weeks, months, even years. My hope is that the footing of commitment to co-parenting will remain and that we continue to carry each other in the highest regard. I hope that as we present our polar viewpoints to our daughter we do so with gentleness and compassion. Moreso, my hope is that somehow our daughter will not find herself pulled in the tension of these two values.


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