How Conflicting Parenting Styles Can Add Up to a Happy Family

We’re in the car driving a sunset stretch of Central Oregon on what feels like the longest road-trip ever. Are we there yet? Are we there yet? When are we going to be there?

Back in the day my husband and I once cannonballed straight through from Oregon to Ohio in a 36-hour marathon that felt shorter by days than this quick trip over the mountains. Roxie, our six-year-old, is finally sleeping, but three-year-old Lila is out-of-control whining in her car seat.

“I want to get OUT of this car,” she says. Over and over, she’s practically screaming when Sam pulls onto the gravel shoulder, gets out and grabs her from the car seat. I want to punch him. I hear the refrain of my childhood “I’ll pull this car over right now and leave you here if you don’t stop this minute.” Whatever he’s doing, I’m sure it’s wrong. He’s going to make it worse and it’s going to scar our daughter for life. Minutes later he snaps a smiling Lila back into her seat, and we’re back on the road.