4 Ways to STOP Fighting Over the Kids and START Parenting Together

BY: - 8 May '17 | Parenting

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“United we stand and divided we fall”, or so the adage goes.  It is true in politics and in life.  And when it comes to your children and how to discipline them this saying is 100% true.

We’ve all been there, you think you should discipline your child a certain way and your spouse wants to handle it differently. You each become stuck in your position, unwilling to concede, and that’s when the fighting starts.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t expect 100% agreement all the time. You are different people who will approach parenting differently, depending upon the situation and some disagreement is expected and normal.   However, if you can’t agree on the fundamental values you use to raise and discipline your children, then you are bound for conflict and confused kids.

So how do you get on the same page?  Here are a few suggestions to help you parent together and to stop fighting over the kids:

1. Outline Your Core Values

I am asking you to complete an exercise with your spouse or for those of you co-parenting, sit down with your parenting partner and write down the major values and lessons you want to teach your children.  This can be fundamental (core) values like honesty, persistence, hard work, kindness, compassion etc.

And it can also be the “non-negotiable values”.  (A non-negotiable value is something that is a “given,” something that is always true in your house. Some examples include “no hitting” or “seat belts on before the car moves” or “call home if you’re going to be late, etc.”) When you outline the non-negotiable values, it creates a “bottom line” that you can refer to when trying to agree on whether a particular parenting decision effectively teaches or undermines one of your core values.

2. Sit Down Regularly to Discuss Parenting Challenges

To parent as a team, you have to set aside time, regularly, to talk about the most pressing parenting issues you are facing when the kids are not around.  In our house, we usually speak about the kids and whatever is going on with them after they’ve gone to bed and before we get into a movie or T.V. show.

This carved out time is your opportunity to honestly share your individual perspectives what you think your child(ren) might be struggling with, or a situation at school, etc; it is also a chance to brainstorm together “best” ways to address the problem in a neutral, non-stressful environment.  Sharing openly with one another and hearing each other out is essential to your effectiveness as a team.

3. No Matter What, Present a United Front

I cannot stress this point enough…Never argue about discipline (or anything else) in front of the kids.  Here’s an example of why you have to be careful about arguing in front of the kids and/or keeping the decision making process to yourself:  Let’s say your daughter thinks she’s ready to date and you agree, but dad isn’t comfortable with that yet, and your official parenting decision is to wait a bit longer.

You won’t win any brownie points playing favorites at the expense of your spouse’s position on an issue.

It’s destructive and divisive to go back to your daughter and say, “I agree with you, but Daddy isn’t ready for you to date.” Actions like this undermine his authority, and encourage your child to continue pushing against her father’s judgment, and falsely sets you up as her “friend/ally”.

While you are raising them, your children are not your friends, you are their parent. Period. You won’t win any brownie points playing favorites at the expense of your spouse’s position on an issue.  When in doubt, remember your child and your marriage will be better off if you present a consistent message to the kids.

4. Give Each Other Credit

Your spouse might not do everything exactly the way you do as a parent, but that doesn’t automatically make their way the wrong way. Sometimes there are two perfectly reasonable options to arrive at a decision.  Give each other a little credit and let both viewpoints be fully considered.  If you can do that, I am certain you will both be pleased with the results!

Parenting is not easy, in fact it is the most challenging and important job you will ever undertake, which is all the more reason to do it together.  Support one another and your child will be better for it, knowing they have two loving and understanding parents, who will always be there for them no matter what.

About the author

Lia Miller wrote 21 articles on this blog.

Lia Miller is an every woman, in that she does and is interested in a lot of things. Lia is a wife and mother, ambitious/career focused individual, writer and award winning blogger, do-it-yourself loc’d naturalista, foodie, avid reader, movie buff, sports enthusiast, passionate about music, dance, and the arts, news junkie, advocate for the underdog/under-represented, with an incurable bug for traveling and exploring the world. Lia is also a clinical social worker with a concentration in children, relationships, and family dynamics. Lia’s focus is to find and share how to get the best out of life by living fully, loving hard, and always learning.

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The Day I Became My Wife’s Partner Instead of Her Helper

BY: - 10 May '17 | Marriage

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I can remember really early in my transition to becoming a parent (I say early like it’s been a long time…but my little girl is only a year and half) I truly didn’t know what I was doing. It’s not that I was lazy or anything, but I think some fear of not doing things right caused me to be very passive in helping to tend to my daughter.

I depended on my wife to initiate most things. Now, I look back and laugh because it’s not like she wasn’t a first-time parent too. But I guess I figured she just had woman-like magical powers to know what to do. Anyway, I realized that she was still exhausted with the baby even though I was there to help. Then I realized that just “helping” was the problem and it wasn’t good enough…I needed to become a partner!

I realized that just “helping” was the problem and it wasn’t good enough…I needed to become a partner!

So what’s the difference you may ask? Well, I think of it in terms of business relationships. It’s almost like the difference between someone who is a part owner and someone who is just an employee or part time help. Here are some key differences.

A partner is proactive!

Helpers might do well at taking orders or suggestions and they might do just enough to get the job done.  But true partners are proactive about finding the gaps and problems and finding solutions. “Oh, mom is overwhelmed with the baby tonight so let me step in and take care of bath time or let me step in handle drop off and pick up from practice.” The partner mentality is trying to increase productivity and minimize stress instead of just taking orders.

Partners don’t babysit their own kids!

Just like when you’re a partner in a business you don’t just work at the business, you work ON the business. Well the same thing holds true in parenting; if you’re a partner you don’t just “babysit” your child for a few hours at a time or until “the boss comes back,” instead you’re always parenting when the boss (mom) is in or not.

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A partner is fully vested

In business, if you’re a partner you’ve probably invested some money into the business.  And as a parent, you’ve invested the very best parts of you into your child as well…talk about being fully vested! This means you have to be vested in everything from schoolwork, to activities, to nurturing and discipline. You are vested because you know the outcomes depend heavily on your input and decision making.

A partner learns multiple roles and wears many hats

When you’re an entrepreneur, often times you play multiple roles: marketing, sales, IT, and HR. Even though your strength might be marketing, you learn other roles so that the business can survive. The same holds true in parenting. You have to learn how to be a cook, carpooler, shopper, custodian, and a hair stylist (I’m not doing very well in this skill by the way). You might not be great at all of them, but you need to be at least competent to keep things running smoothly.

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A partner is consistent

When you’re vested in a business one thing is for sure is that you’re always showing up. You come in early, leave late, and make meeting and appointments because you know the business depends on it. Well with parenting showing up consistently is vital as well. Not only is it to help your partner but your child notices when you don’t show up and too much not showing up hurts them more than you know.

A partner picks up the slack

When your business partner is having a bad go at it or a bad season, you can’t just argue about it and hope it gets better. The business is depending on you and you may have to pick up some of the slack. Likewise, if you are parenting and your spouse gets sick or is going through something, the show doesn’t stop because she’s sick.  So, pick up the slack like a true partner does!

Now don’t get me wrong, sometimes, I fall back into helper mode instead of partner mode.  But now, I’m way more conscious than I was and I take way more initiative than I used to. I think I’ve graduated from helper status to partner status (I just hope my wife agrees…) I hope that after reading this you may even go for your partner degree as well!

About the author

Troy Spry wrote 223 articles on this blog.

Troy Spry a Certified Life, Dating, and Relationship Coach and the one and only "Reality Expert", resides in Charlotte, NC. He created his blog, Xklusive Thoughts, with the intent of putting out a very realistic perspective and using it as a vehicle for inspiration! He hopes to challenge people to think differently and inspire people to do and be better in relationships and in life!

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