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One of the greatest challenges to a marriage is co-parenting, especially when the parenting styles of each of the parents are quite different, or worse yet, in direct opposition to each other. In my work with couples, this issue comes up more than any other single issue that couples bring in to marriage counseling. I have also noticed that the article on "parenting styles" is one of the most read articles on our website. So what makes this issue such a hot topic among couples?
An important aspect of a child's personality has to do with what is called "temperament." Temperament refers to a one's predisposition to act and react in certain ways based on personality characteristics that are present at birth. One of the most well known scales for assessing temperament is the "Myers-Briggs Type Indicator" developed by Isabel Myers and her mother, Kathryn Briggs. The Myers-Briggs scale is based on Carl Jung's "psychological types" described in his book of the same title.
The parent-child relationship is being assaulted from many directions these days. Parents are under the gun of mounting economic pressures resulting in long work hours, and often more than one job. Our 24-hour a day culture has created a job market that never goes to sleep, and many parents find themselves working hours outside of the usual nine to five workday. This leaves big gaps in childcare arrangements, especially since the school day has continued to remain somewhere between the hours of 7AM and 4PM.
One has only to turn on the TV to observe the growing proliferation of violent and aggressive content in today's media. A regular offering includes daytime talk shows, some of which are characterized by blatant emotional, psychological, and physical abuse by panel guests toward each other. WCW (World Champion Wrestling) is viewed by a growing number of Americans, many of whom include young children and adolescents who watch along side of their parents. Network news is littered with graphic renderings of murders, kidnappings, traffic accidents, international war scenes, and the like of which violence is the key component.
One of the more common sources of frustration for parents of teens is figuring out an effective way to get them to keep their rooms clean. Sometimes this revolves around simply getting the beds made, putting laundry in the hamper, and getting the large amounts of debris cluttering the room picked up and put away. It's not uncommon for a fifteen year old boy's room to smell more like the inside of locker room, or for a girl's room to be so littered with clothes that you can't find the floor.