Have you and your spouse ever disagreed when it came to disciplining or raising your child? You both stand firm on your position , and that’s when an argument might typically occur.
At some point, most couples will argue over how their children should be disciplined. You’re both very different people, so it’s only natural that you also have different opinions and thoughts on discipline. Some arguments can be expected, but if you work together more and focus on communication styles and different beliefs, you’re better able to work as a team.
Here are 9 simple and small guidelines that can help you and your spouse avoid battles when it comes to raising and disciplining your children.
Back Your Spouse Up
Make it a rule that when one spouse disciplines the kids, the other parent must back them up, even though they might not agree with how it’s being handled. This will show your child that you’re a unified team rather than parents who are undermining each other. This lets them know that they can not easily get around a parenting decision since you’re both on the same page.
Compromise in a Moment
It’s unrealistic to assume that you and your spouse will agree on everything, but it’s important that if you and your spouse have a disagreement, that your child does not see the fight or argument. Children don’t like to see their parents argue, and it’s important to show them how to properly problem solve. Back each other up in that moment and address the differences in private.
Discuss Parenting Decisions when BOTH of You are Calm
When you can calmly listen to one another’s perspectives and opinions on disciplining, you’re better able to understand where you both are coming from regarding the matter. Be respectful of your spouse’s opinion, and work together. This will help minimize arguments that aren’t necessary.
Empathize with your Child, but Do Not throw them Under the Bus
There will be instances where your spouse may feel more strongly on a certain topic, but you decide to go along with your spouse on their disciplining or decision. You can still empathize with your child, ” I know it can be difficult to understand why Dad won’t let you go play down at the park alone, but it’s important to understand why he is telling you “no”. I know that you think you’re big enough to go without us, but please understand that we’re looking out for you.” You’re not breaking the unified stance with your spouse, but you are still able to express empathy with your child.
Talk it Out when You can’t Agree
There will be times when you or your spouse will strongly not agree on a topic, and it’s incredibly important to talk it out. If you’re unable to come to an unified agreement, ask your spouse (or agree) to “go along with it”. This will show you both what works or doesn’t work.
Understand Each Other’s Upbringing
If you take the time to understand each other’s upbringing and how discipline was handled, you’re better able to understand why they’re adamant on some of their stances especially when it comes to disciplining. It’s also important to understand that what worked back then, may or may not work today. There are different safety concerns, cultural norms and environmental concerns that vary from when you and your spouse were growing up.
Take the time to really listen to each other’s point of views. Don’t try interjecting or interrupting them, but really work on listening to them. Commit to trying to truly understand their point of view. This will make negotiating and coming to an agreement, or at least a compromise, much more likely without a fight ensuing.
Remove Yourself from the Situation and Take a Time-Out
Don’t waste your time getting into a battle of who’s right and who’s wrong, but focus on coming up with a plan or solution. If you, or both of you, need to take a time-out, then do it. Walk away or do something else in that moment to distract you and allow yourself a few minutes to calm down. Only then are you both able to discuss the matter at hand without having a full-blown fight because you spoke when you should have removed yourself from the situation.
Kids are Off the Hook when Parents Fight
When you’re not on the same page as your spouse, your kid sees that as their out and may manipulate you both. Sometimes the focus goes towards something other than the actual issue, so it’s important to not fight in front of them. Try not to raise your voices, and work towards a solution then and there to prevent a fight from taking place in front of your child. Address the issues you might have with your spouse in private away from the kids.
It’s also important to understand that natural differences between spouses is normal and oftentimes they can be strengths and learning tools within the relationship. Differences can help expand perspectives, open up better lines of communication and help in more effective problem solving. We all have different communication styles and belief systems, so it’s important to try and work together with your spouse to have the most effective unified parenting methods in place to prevent fights.