10 Things You Should Never Say to Your Partner
Parenting can be hard. Between sleep deprivation, temper tantrums, and strong-willed personalities, it's not always easy to know what to do. Our partners in this parenting journey deserve to be treated with respect and trust, even through fits of anger — you are partners, after all, and respecting each other will help keep your relationship strong. There are a few things that under no uncertain circumstances should you say to your coparent, even if you really, REALLY want to. Your relationship, and your kids, will be better off if you avoid these 10 harsh phrases altogether.
"I told you so."
Even though it feels so good when your partner recognizes that you were, in fact, right all along, rubbing it in their face doesn't help matters. This is especially true when it comes to parenting struggles, because being a parent is hard enough without having to feel worse about mistakes that were made.
"That's not what the book says to do."
Sure, you've read all the books, consulted all the blogs, and spent your waking life developing an action plan; that doesn't mean your partner needs to follow everything you've read. A good relationship is about trust, and in the heat of the moment, it's best to trust that your partner wants what is best for your little one too.
"Well, they don't act like that for me."
Every kid reacts differently to different people, and this can especially be true with parents. Just because your tyke is a perfect baby with you doesn't mean that your fellow parent is doing something wrong. Cut them some slack, and try to help rather than use a braggadocious phrase.
"Have you tried ______ to get them to sleep?"
When it's the middle of the night and the baby is screaming, the last thing you want to hear is a list of solutions that have already been tried and failed. Again, trust that your partner knows all the tricks and has tried all the magical ways to get that baby to sleep.
"You weren't watching them closely enough."
Accidents happen, even to the most attentive parents. Instead of using blame phrases, try instead to talk with your partner later about expectations and procedures. Accusing them is only going to make them nervous and closed off.
"You should really clean more."
Even the cleanest houses could probably stand a little more sprucing up. Taking care of kids, working, maintaining a social life, and cleaning house can be exhausting. While it may feel like the house is in disarray, it's also possible that little kiddo did some serious damage not long before you came home. This is definitely one instance where it's best to lead by example.
"My friend's partner does it this way."
Worse than comparing parenting techniques to the professionals is comparing styles to a friend or relative. It's great that your friend Sally has the perfect wife who manages to do it all, but that's not your situation. Forcing comparisons is only going to make for an awkward dinner party later on.
"My mom suggested we try this."
You'd think mothers would be the beacon of proper parenting, since they themselves went through it many years ago. However, certain aspects of parenting have changed since you were a kid, like putting kids to sleep flat in the supine position rather than prone. Beyond potential safety concerns, no one ever wants to be told they're not doing something as well as their mother-in-law.
"Do they really need that?"
Yes, there are some parents who are a little more loosey-goosey with doling out TV time or treats. However, this phrase immediately undermines your partner's authority in front of the child. Discuss alternate routes and preferences later and in private.
"I would never let them do that."
Different parents have different comfort levels with a child's abilities. One parent might be a helicopter parent, while the other prefers to let the kid get a few bruises as they learn. Trust that your partner knows their own child well enough.