Good Parent, Bad Parent: When Your Parenting Styles Clash in a Mixed Family

We all want the best for our kids. This is why it can be stressful, frustrating, and overwhelming when you and your partner have different ways of speaking, acting, and teaching your children.

Families that are multicultural, multifaith, and multiracial have the additional task of figuring out how to give their kids the best of both worlds and guide them through the experiences of growing up biracial and part of multiple identities.

Most of us in mixed families strive to provide experiences and teach our children so they feel equally part of multiple cultures, faiths, and communities. Strategies, tools, and resources focused on communication, problem solving, and mixed family life can help couples avoid getting stuck in arguments and being seen as the good parent or bad parent in a situation. If you have ever felt overwhelmed, unsure, or want extra support on how you and your partner can navigate raising kids in a mixed family; click here to download your FREE workbook and learn more about our Mix Match and Blend program.

I’m white and Jewish and my husband is West Indian and Muslim. As a mixed family we are raising our two children in both of our cultures and faiths. Although we agree on this plan, the way we do this and make other decisions for our kids sometimes leads us to disagreements. It’s these disagreements that if not sorted can lead children to feeling confused, being pulled toward one parent, or even rejecting both cultures.

[bctt tweet=”Intercultural parenting disagreements can make children reject both cultures.” username=”ParentVoiceMag”]

Rorri Geller-Mohamed Family
Photo Courtesy of Rorri Geller-Mohamed


My husband was worried about raising children in multiple faiths because of his college friend’s experience. His friend’s mother was Muslim and father was Hindu. His friend and his two siblings all ended up identifying as Christians. This story made my husband very concerned about raising children in two religions. My husband really hoped that his children would embrace Islam and find strength from it the same way he has.

Although we don’t know all of the family dynamics of his friend’s situation, what we do know is that it could have been very different if the parents had a unified voice in decision making, had talked together about how to teach children to hold multiple identities and beliefs, involved the grandparents and extended family in the teaching, and were part of a community with families like them.

[bctt tweet=”Parents need a unified voice when raising kids with multiple identities and beliefs. ” username=”ParentVoiceMag”]

Even for couples that are more conscious of how they navigate raising children in a mixed family to be proud of their multiple identities and beliefs, there may still be many disagreements on parenting issues. Differences of opinion and parenting styles are often more common in multicultural, multifaith, and multiracial families because of both parents being raised differently and having different experiences growing up.

[perfectpullquote align=”left” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Can you relate to having disagreements with your partner where you just couldn’t get on the same page?[/perfectpullquote]

Maybe it was about what or how much TV your children can watch, how to give them boundaries or discipline them, what they can or can’t eat, what school to put them in, what religion(s) to raise them, the best way to celebrate holidays, where to live, how much you have to monitor, protect, or intervene from what other people do or say around them or another parenting concern. Sometimes it can be so frustrating and tiring when your partner doesn’t understand your perspective, doesn’t think it’s a big deal, or just doesn’t want to deal with the issue at all. Most of us feel strongly about what’s best for our kids and want to parent them in a certain way which can often be really hard if your partner isn’t on board. No one wants to argue with their spouse or have their children feel like they have to choose sides.

[bctt tweet=”It can be frustrating and tiring when your partner doesn’t understand your perspective.” username=”ParentVoiceMag”]

Mix Match Blend program

1. Focus on your relationship strengths and family values to solve the challenges that come up.

2. Individually think about how you were raised and what traditions, rituals, beliefs, and customs you want to pass on to your children then share that with your partner.

3. Reach out for support and advice from like-minded and other mixed families with similar situations.

4. Be patient with yourself and your partner as you figure things out.

5. Have a unified voice with your partner around parenting decisions so your children know that you are both in agreement.

6. Celebrate your differences together as a family.

Enjoy celebrating the many aspects of your mixed family and work together to blend your parenting styles. Making the commitment to work together on developing a more unified parenting style will give you a happier marriage, children with higher confidence and self-esteem, and more time to enjoy your family.


 About the Author

Rorri Geller-MohamedRorri Geller-Mohamed (rorri@upowerchange.com) is a relationship/family coach, therapist, and the founder of U Power Change. She works with couples to discover solutions to unique multicultural, multifaith, and multiracial relationship and family challenges. Her commitment to supporting mixed families comes from growing up in a mixed family (she’s white and Jewish and her brother is Mexican and Catholic), being in a mixed relationship (her husband is Guyanese and Muslim), and raising two kids.

Featured Image Credit – Image used under license from Freestock.com


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