Winning With Parenting Arguments
Raising children is not an easy job. When parents are involved in their child’s life, there will come moments when discipline needs to be applied. Most children want to be right and forego discipline so they will try to find a way to get out of disciplinary action through arguments. The key to effective parenting is for mom and dad to present a united front. One of the worse things a parent can do is to go at odds against your spouse in front of the child when the argument surrounds the discipline of the child.
What If You Two Don’t Agree?
I think the need for parents to present a united front should be so constant that if one parent says or does something to discipline the child whether the other parent agrees or not they should always support their spouse in front of the child. If it’s a big issue, you should stand behind your spouse and then later when the child isn’t around hash it out and come to an agreeable compromise for the next instant of disciplinary action.
Ideally, child rearing should have been discussed in detail before you ever took your marriage vows. But often, couples are wrapped up in their new love so they don’t get to the meat of the matters of children while they are engaged. They may discuss whether to have children, but they don’t project ahead and consider consistent discipline actions.
All you can do is move forward from this point on. You two need to come to an agreement and you need to reach this agreement before you practice disciplining the children. Never argue about this in front of the children.
Always Present a United Front
Children will discover very quickly if they can manipulate the situation when it comes to their discipline if mom and dad aren’t in agreement. Do not give an inch in this direction and never contradict your spouse in front of the children. Instead, show you are a couple united in raising your children. This sets a precedence. If mom said no to something, going behind her back and asking dad on the off-chance dad will say yes shows the children you aren’t in agreement. When a child comes to you with a question or an issue, ask first if they have discussed this with the other. Always back up your spouse, even if you would have had a different answer.
Go Over Disciplines
Pick a time when you are alone with your spouse and go over different scenarios your child might present. You want to know ahead of time the best way to address the issues to present the united front. If you don’t agree, learn how to reach compromises because that is what’s in the best interest of the children.
Teach Children the Fine Art of Good Relationships
Children raised in a home where mom and dad don’t contradict each other and show a good front when it comes to discipline helps children to grow up with a good foundation for their future relationships. When children learn that what one says the other will back, they won’t try to manipulate the situation. They also know they face the consequences of discipline if they’ve stepped out of line because mom and dad will agree with what the first one says about it.
Tell the child if there ever comes a time when one parent says one thing and the other parent says another, the first parent to have spoken set the rule for the matter. For example, my eight-year-old asked me if she could go to a friend’s house on a school night and I said no. She then went to her father and he said she could if she did her chores first. When our daughter came back to me and said, “Dad said I could go.” I had to take the child to the father and explain that I had already said no. Then her father backed me and said he didn’t realize she had asked me first and what mom says is the rule.
Had I given in and let my daughter go to her friend’s house after I said no, she would have used this type of scenario over and over to her advantage, seeing that mom and dad do not back up the other. We let our children know if they pull the ask one and then the other to get their way, the answer of the first parent asked is the answer. This does often happen too, so we pull together in these cases. Discipline action takes place too when the child tries to manipulate the situation by pitting one parent against the other. Stand firm, stay united and raise your kids to grow up with integrity so they can do the same with their own children.