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My partner and I do not see eye-to-eye




I see 3 Types of parents of strong-willed kids in my clients.

Which one are you?  Which one is your partner?

Not only does the second half of your parenting life begin when you understand you're parenting a strong-willed child, but your self awareness sky rockets when you realize you're a Worrying Warrior.

Your next step is to evaluate whether you're parenting with a "Just tell me what to do" parent or an "It is what it is" parent.

In this episode, I break down each of these three parenting approaches, the motives behind their actions, and wedge of divide that grows between parents that feel they need to overcompensate for the other.


  • How to identify your parenting style
  • The long term ramifications of you + your partner parenting from opposite ends of the spectrum
  • The foundation to build from and move forward with


  • How Chelsy and Matt found common ground 

IG: @parent_wholeheartedly

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*FREE* MASTERCLASS: Learn how to CONFIDENTLY parent your strong-willed child WITHOUT threats, bribes or giving in altogether so you can BREAK FREE of power struggles + guilt


 Danielle Bettmann  0:06  
Ever feel like you suck at this job? Motherhood I mean? Have too much anxiety and not enough patience. Too much yelling, not enough play. There's no manual, no village, no guarantees. The stakes are high. We want so badly to get it right. But this is survival mode. We're just trying to make it to bedtime. So if you're full of mom guilt, your temper scares you. You feel like you're screwing everything up, and you're afraid to admit any of those things out loud. This podcast is for you. This is Failing Motherhood. I'm Danielle Bettmann. And each week we'll chat with a mom ready to be real. Sharing her insecurities, her fears, your failures and her wins. We do not have it all figured out. That's not the goal. The goal is to remind you, you are the mom your kids need. They need what you have. You are good enough and you're not alone. I hope you pop in earbuds somehow sneak away and get ready to hear some hope from the trenches. You belong here, friend, we're so glad you're here. 

Danielle Bettmann  1:13  
Hey, it's Danielle, Positive Discipline certified parenting coach for strong-willed kids aged two to 10. I help defeated parents find validation, support and proven techniques to parent their strong willed kids with composure, connection, confidence and cooperation through a three month group coaching program based on my Wholehearted framework, I've developed over years of working with families one on one. If you just found the podcast, go to to view a playlist of our most listened to episodes, as well as where to start if you have a strong willed child. 

Danielle Bettmann  1:49  
In today's episode I'm going to be talking about who raises strong-willed kids. Typically, a lot of information, especially even this podcast is designed and specifically talking to mothers and motherhood and that experience. And we know there are very, very involved partners happening in every home, almost every home that is listening to this as well. A lot of those dads or partners are cluing into the podcast. And for a lot of my clients, they both go through my program together. So I wanted to take the time in one episode to kind of talk about the patterns that I see and have noticed in the parents of strong-willed kids that I work with to help you find similar patterns at your house be able to be more self aware of some of the dynamics or some of the beliefs that are informing your approaches at your house, and be able to have really tangible, productive conversations between you and your partner, before you even dive into parenting strategies as it is. 

Danielle Bettmann  3:05  
So tell me if this sounds familiar for you, if you are the mother of your strong willed child, you might identify as what I will call a Worrying Warrior. You have a deep desire to be a good parent, because of how important you realize it is. And you want to be the person you wish you had when you were growing up. You might be working to parent differently than you were parented and be surprised to find out how hard that is. You truly care about your kids. You want incredible things for them in life, including your child not being afraid of you, wanting them to be able to come to you down the road with a problem, especially in the teen years. Having that open and honest communication. You're working so hard day in and day out. And you want to be a super fun Mary Poppins type parent, Pinterest board in real life. 

Danielle Bettmann  4:04  
And yet, you're parenting a tiny human whose behavior is relentless and exhausting. You might be experiencing outbursts of up to several times a day, either your child or you or both of you. You may have already invested in therapy and parenting books and podcasts or even a course, but you don't feel any more confident. In fact, you might feel worse, you might feel like you should know what to do by now. So you use that information to beat yourself up for a temper you never knew you had. And ultimately, you're worried for your child's future, but because of the behaviors you see, you may have discovered gentle parenting and are trying to implement what you're learning. But your child sure isn't gentle child-ing. You constantly hear conflicting information or the principles and the ideas just don't seem to translate to real life. Your child might be yelling NO to your requests or demands, throwing themselves down and a tantrum, arguing or negotiating at every task. Having high highs and low lows emotionally, they can be so super sweet and loving and also jealous, angry. And mean. You might feel like you are failing your child, your strong willed child because of your temper, or you're afraid that your child just needs more than you have to give. So you need to outsource and find them somewhere support. Ultimately, you know, your strong willed child is passionate, loving, super sweet. And you don't want to squash all that goodness out of them. And you hate admitting you really don't like being around them right now. It would be great if you could get more out of those good moments and work with the way they're wired. You might be feeling dismissed or confused by behavior that only seems to happen at home. And or is the worst with you. You might be worried that something is wrong, something is missing, and you're feeling the pressure to figure out what that is and can't seem to put your finger on it. You might tend to take behavior personally, or have a tendency to be anxious, and second guessed or overthink your parenting decisions. You might feel like you've tried everything and end every day with guilt. Because you did not end up showing up as the parent that you thought you could be, or would be that day. 

Danielle Bettmann  6:46  
Also, you might be in working in a healthcare field, or in therapy or in an education fields, likely due to your innate inclination to want to care for others and make the world a better place as a high priority for you personally, and your core values. And somehow it is easier to do for strangers kids than your own. Why is it so hard in this parent child relationship? 

Danielle Bettmann  7:15  
If that all sounds familiar, then you might identify as a Worrying Warrior. And believe me, I tend to be one myself. I have ADHD, I have anxiety, I am worried about the future. I'm worried about behaviors that I see in my kids, I am worried about how I'm showing up and I have perfectionist tendencies, I am an oldest daughter, I have a really hard time with giving myself grace sometimes. And ultimately, I don't think I struggle so much about what other people think of me, I just really sometimes don't think highly of myself. And I really am hard on myself and beat myself up. 

Danielle Bettmann  7:58  
So if any of that sounds familiar, then you are not alone. You are at home here. And everything that I do. In my work, every content piece that I create is specifically designed to speak to Worrying Warriors. So I'm so glad you're here. Now, the other thing I know about Worrying Warriors is they do not throw in the towel. They wake up every day, ready to try again. They are constantly seeking out more resources to help them level up, including more Instagram posts, more podcast episodes, more books. And yet, they end up creating something new every day for their child, creating a lot of wild inconsistency in the day to day, or their child never knowing which parent they're going to show up as the really patient one or the burnt out one. Because there's a new sticker chart this week or there's a new rule and then you know, it doesn't last. It works until it doesn't. You might feel immediately undermined and the things that you're trying to implement by an unknowing partner who is not on the same page. You might be trying to work so hard to protect your strong-willed child's emotions that you end up bending over backwards or sacrificing your own well being. walking on eggshells. Sound familiar? Anyone? You might try talking nicely and gently being nice and kind until you can't take it anymore. And then you threaten or punish or yell and beat yourself up for it later. And then repeat the cycle tomorrow. You might feel like you're throwing spaghetti at a wall and you can't seem to get ahead of the behavior. Is any of that sound familiar?

Danielle Bettmann  9:52  
That is the struggle of being a Worrying Warrior. You stay stuck. And that stuck feeling leads you to feel helpless paired with all that anxiety. And I feel like there is no worse feeling as a parent than feeling helpless, about something that you care desperately about something that you take very seriously. Alarm bells should be going off. That is the healthiest reaction to something that feels relatively hopeless. And yet, you continue to be persistent and pursue more answers more information. It is not for lack of effort, it is not for lack of even resources at this point that you continue to feel stuck. 

Danielle Bettmann  10:42  
So Worrying Warriors, they often are parenting with a partner who fits one out of these two profiles. And last time I talked about this on a free training, some of the live participants said that their partner is like a blend of both. So listen to these descriptions. And you can think about who your partner fits best, or maybe their combination, too. 

Danielle Bettmann  11:12  
So in the clients I work with, I see a dynamic of a parent that I call the "just tell me what to do" parent. They know what they're doing isn't working, but they feel very overwhelmed by their partners research. And they can't keep up and they have questions. They're trying their best to listen and get on board. They tend to be highly intelligent and accomplished in their fields professionally. I see a lot of physicians, I see a lot of engineers, and they want to be involved and good parent they're very hands on and we love that for them and their kids. They want a calmer home, they want to support their partner, they want to feel more equipped, they want to figure out their child. And they know they could do a better job. 

Danielle Bettmann  12:06  
As a logical analytical person, they struggle to cope with a child's behavior that is so emotional and unpredictable. And at the end of the day irrational in their mind, it's so hard for them to be able to kind of get in their shoes or relate or find ways to cope with those high highs and low lows. And they feel pressure to step in, when it looks like and seems like their partner is being disrespected. But their attempts at resolution and up escalating the conflict, creating a lot of stress between partners. So that's the tendencies of the" just tell me what to do" partner. 

Danielle Bettmann  12:57  
Then there's the "it is what it is" partner. They are confused, honestly, about how much their partner seems to be struggling. They don't share the same fears. They aren't prone to as much anxiety. They're only concerned that their partner, the Worrying Warrior is being too permissive. They don't want to raise an entitled brat. They might have been parented with a more strict, firm authoritarian approach. So they've been really skeptical of the whole gentle parenting movement. And just don't agree with it ultimately aren't convinced. The problem is, especially the strong-willed child or kids, they're your kids in general, they do actually act better with this parent. So it makes that parent feel like yelling or being more strict is what is needed sometimes because it seems to work. Deep down, they would like to know and have some more insight into how they're supposed to be handling some of the most stressful moments. And they would do really well if given explicit instructions they could actually follow that they were convinced would work. They're just not that bothered to figure it out, not nearly as much as their partner. That's the "it is what it is" partner. 

Danielle Bettmann  14:32  
So which one are you parenting with? If you are a Worrying Warrior. The"just tells me what to do", or the "it is what it is", or a combination of the two. The reality is, as much as your perspective may differ from your partner, I would venture to guess all partners and parents of strong-willed kids want: kids that listen, want their sanity to remain intact, they want to know they are doing the right thing to set their child up for success. They want to know how they're supposed to coach through and diffuse their child's big emotions, while teaching skills at the same time. They want to know that they're going to have an open, honest relationship with their child when they're a teenager. And they want to know that their child is going to thrive as an adult. 

Danielle Bettmann  15:32  
Would you agree? I bet you and your partner meet on those terms. The other problem is, without addressing those dynamics, of being a Worrying Warrior you're on the other end of the spectrum of permissive, if you have a very strict minded or leaning authoritarian spouse, or partner that you're partnering with, there's going to be a wedge of divide. There's going to be resentment that grows between partners as they continue to disagree and see things from different perspectives. That is going to erode at least one partner's well being because they feel like they have to overcompensate for the other parent. If the other parent doesn't have as much patience, they are going to become a doormat they are going to become a punching bag, they're going to be walked all over even more so that they feel like their child has a responsive, Safe Space, parent. 

Danielle Bettmann  16:36  
And then the strict minded, leaning parent feels like they have to overcompensate for the other parent being a doormat and make sure that they are teaching are getting lessons that they are knowing what's okay and what's not okay in the future and holding those boundaries for everyone. So they both feel a lot of pressure on the other ends of the spectrum to make up for the other parent. So their child's behavior continues to create hostility and tension in their home. And in the culture the home feels like eggshells. 

Danielle Bettmann  17:15  
There are a lot of values and skills and lessons going un-learned frankly, because their child is much more focused on the circus of reactions to their behavior, rather than their own self awareness growing and taking accountability for their behavior. All the family relationships are going to be strained down the road at best, if not leading to no contact, divorce, things down the road that we all hope don't happen to our family. But they do happen quite often. 

Danielle Bettmann  17:51  
Not to mention, every year between now and then, dealing with unnecessarily stressful behaviors like your child's running behind the couch when they know they're not supposed to do something or more to something mortifying like stealing from a gas station or stealing from school. We know bigger kids equals bigger problems in the future. 

Danielle Bettmann  18:14  
So again, if you can relate if this sounds familiar, if you feel like that dynamic is well present at your house, maybe not checking every box, but you can relate then you are in the right place. This used to be and I'm just going to give you a one example of a client, Chelsea and Matt, who I worked with a few months ago. They have a three year old son. They came in to work with me with very opposing views about how to handle things. They were both triggered by his outbursts, and yelling made their son much more upset. Chelsea, as a therapist was coming in sensing a vicious cycle. She said it feels like we bargain with him on everything all day. As a therapist, she felt hypersensitive to creating trauma. And she wanted to work really hard to learn how to be responsive to his emotions while keeping her own in check. But their son was not responding well to her gentle parenting attempts. So then Matt would step in as the more authoritative parent and their son would get even more upset. Then Chelsea would get upset with Matt. Then she would come off as preachy or criticizing him. When there's admittedly still a lot they both didn't understand. Matt just wanted to know what he should do. That would actually work.

Danielle Bettmann  19:47  
So they reported coming in, in our initial call feeling isolated and alone. Having a passive parenting style. My husband was the authoritative parent and as arguing about how to parent our son You're feeling defeated by all the tantrums and how hard bedtimes were, our son's mood seemed to change on a dime. We had lots of meltdowns added stress for my wife and I mood swings for us feeling lost and hopeless, negative thoughts and feelings of failure. 

Danielle Bettmann  20:17  
And after working together, Chelsea and Matt were able to share: They had way less tantrums, much more positive interactions with their son, much more closeness between the two of them, more cohesive parenting easier and more fun family times easier, bad times, feeling more confident learning techniques that actually resonated with our child, and letting Him have more control over his choices. A quote they shared was, "the workbook has been so helpful, the community, feeling like we're not alone, the scripts and the reframing of our own mindsets have been really huge. It's helped a lot to have people that can relate to, to learn from, as well as trying to bridge the gap between our two ways of parenting rather than learning separately." 

Danielle Bettmann  21:10  
So often, parenting, news feeds are going to be really dialed in to just motherhood, or just fatherhood. And you stay in your little silos, not being able to even find common ground, let alone relate to the other parent. And anything that you figure out is starting to work is not going to work if your child continues to act out because their relationship with their other parent is still very strained. Or they feel like certain behaviors necessary are justified with that parent. 

Danielle Bettmann  21:44  
So again, you stay stuck without being able to work on this together. That I know, because I've seen it over and over and over with the clients that choose to work with me that invest at a high level that take this seriously that commit to this work, and do it together in a safe space. They don't want to bend over backwards to avoid a reaction. They want to learn how to react to a behavior that makes it better, not worse. They want to stop that growing divide between parenting partners, they want to be able to do things like leave the house successfully go to parties plan trips that they know will be successful and open up the possibilities in their life again, without being held hostage. They want to be able to communicate in a way that is kind and firm. They want to be able to know deep down they can handle whatever their child throws their way and actually have their energy project that and that is exactly what calm confident parents have. 

Danielle Bettmann  22:52  
Peaceful mornings and playful bedtime,s a plan to support them and capacity for days, their days feel much easier, they can actually look forward to spending time with their strong-willed child again. They have peace of mind, and complete confidence in their toolkits of scripts and strategies. They're able to let the little things go never letting criticism of their parenting get to them. They have security when deciding to have another child, go on a big trip, homeschool, move abroad, go back to work, or start a business. 

Danielle Bettmann  23:27  
And don't get me wrong. It's not all cupcakes and rainbows. Even the best of us have kids that tell us they hate us. Sometimes it stays hard if you're doing parenting, right. But it's all about taking control of what you can control in your mindset, your self confidence and your self concept now and into the future. 

Danielle Bettmann  23:50  
So if you are more than ready to make that your family's reality, start by having the hard conversation with your partner that lets them know, this is the patterns I'm seeing. This is what I'm feeling lately. This is the feel like the trajectory we're on. And I'm not okay with that. I'm not gonna settle for just getting by and surviving these years, crossing our fingers hoping by the end of it, our kids still want to talk to us. Okay. So start with that conversation, just sharing your heart and then go through a piece of content together with your partner, whether that's this episode, sharing that with them and saying listen to this, and let's talk about it Friday night. Or going through my free training together at And at that point, then you can be able to say are you seeing what I'm seeing? Are you relating to this in the same way that I am? This is how I feel I feel like a Worrying Warrior parent, I feel like you have these tendencies as well. Neither one of us is perfect. Neither one of us has all of the answers and is this like, high and mighty, wise parent.  We both have opportunities for growth. I want us both to be able to find a happier medium of being able to be kind and firm. That's what our kids deserve from us. And it's okay that we don't have it yet. But I want to do this together with you. Are you ready to go on that journey together? Can we make a short term investment for a long term pay off for our family? 

Danielle Bettmann  25:41  
And then apply to work together. And at that point, we'll have another conversation, you can ask all your questions, I'll ask you more questions. And we'll find the right next step for your family. So Worrying Warriors, "just tell me what to do" and "it is what it is" parents, you are in the right place. I am so so so glad you're here. Thank you for being a part of Failing Motherhood. I just actually got to meet a fan of the podcast at a MOPS talk that I had last week here locally in Nebraska. And she asked to take a picture with me and she told me how she was telling all her mom friends back home about Failing Motherhood. And it made me so happy. It made my day. It made my week. Very rarely do I get to hear from podcast listeners and hear how the podcast is resonating with them, and how much it has changed the way that they parent. And so I am just so grateful that you would invest your very, very precious time with me and with us. It is felt. It is felt. It is appreciated. And it matters. So I believe in you. And I'm cheering you on. 

Danielle Bettmann  26:59  
Thank you so much for tuning into this episode of Failing Motherhood. Your kids are so lucky to have you. If you loved this episode, take a screenshot right now and share it in your Instagram stories and tag me. If you're loving the podcast, be sure that you've subscribed and leave a review so we can help more moms know they are not alone if they feel like they're failing motherhood on a daily basis. And if you're ready to transform your relationship with your strong-willed child and invest in the support you need to make it happen. Schedule your free consultation using the link in the show notes. I can't wait to meet you. Thanks for coming on this journey with me. I believe in you, and I'm cheering you on.



Tuesday, Sept 27th at 1:00 PM CENTRAL

Confidently parent your strong-willed child without caving in or dimming their spark so you can finally break free of power struggles, guilt + self-doubt!