Politics, Parenting And Polarization

Oct 31, 2012, 09:19 ET from Dr. Tony Ferretti

MELBOURNE, Fla., Oct. 31, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- What do politics and parenting have in common? Polarization!

This election season, politicians have been staking out far right or far left positions on the hot button social issues that generate strong emotional reactions with voters.  Feeling the support of their respective bases, opposing candidates often "dig in" and defend their extreme positions leaving little to no room for cooperation and compromise.  There is simply no tolerance or compassion for those who think differently.  As this polarization intensifies good government grinds to a halt.  Gridlock has arrived.

Parenting can be surprisingly similar.  Spouses may stake out conflicting positions on a childrearing issue, for example the appropriate bedtime for a 12 year old.  If their underlying parenting styles clash, say one is strict while the other is lenient, many individual conflicts will likely occur.  Too often the parents "dig in" just like the politicians and wind up in gridlock. 

But it gets worse.  Kids are clever.  When the parents aren't speaking with one voice the children quickly learn which parent will give them what they want.  As the kids exploit the situation the parental divide increases.  The couple begins to parent as separate entities with different rules and chaos ensues.

So we see that in parenting, as in politics, polarization is the enemy of effectiveness.  For a better approach try bipartisanship.  Negotiate.  Take the time to consider possible compromise solutions and then agree on a resolution.

Find out more about conflict resolution in my new book, Change Your Life, Not Your Wife: Marriage-Saving Advice for Success-Driven People.


Psychologist Dr. Tony Ferretti specializes in helping success-driven clients with crumbling families - people whose personality traits help them excel at work but harm their relationships.  A Ph.D. from the University of Southern Mississippi and over 20 years in practice have given him deep insight into the dysfunctional ego-driven behaviors of powerful people.

Contact: Joyce Simpson
(321) 984-0708

SOURCE Dr. Tony Ferretti