Parenting in Agreement
Many parents can attest that in the moment of a struggle with their toddler, or even their teenager, that opinions on discipline can fly around in the moment. Quite often the opinions of your spouse will not line up perfectly, however close or distant from your form discipline. Angela (my wife) and I have differed often, typically in small details that can matter in the moment. These are easily dealt with as long as they do not pile up without resolution.
Last night, we differed on where to give Haddie her night time bottle right before bedtime, and had to talk it out during the occasion. Due to our disagreement she was up longer because we hadn’t discussed it previously. Small cases like this slow things down and even take time away from other things, such as being together.
In worse circumstances it can cause division amongst the spouses or even pit a child against one or both parents.
One Saturday a month ago, our oldest daughter, Hannah, wanted to watch TV. I was in the bathroom getting ready to go out and she ran in to me, cheerily screaming “Mickey Mouse!” I told her no TV, because we were all going to leave in a while. That cute little booger left the bathroom and ran to mommy down the hall and asked her to turn it on. In the hindrance of getting ready, she turned it on for a few minutes of distraction free time. Our 2-year-old inadvertently pitted us against each other to get what she wanted, even though we didn’t know it in the moment. I came out frustrated that the TV was on, despite saying no. Angela was irritated that she didn’t know that was the case. In short…
Parents must be in agreement.
When two parents of children are in agreement, the parents “have agreed to set boundaries and rules and the consequences of disobedience before they present them to their children. They have already covered the ground of their [the parents] own differences, paving the way for a unified approach.”
This can be time consuming at first and may feel mind-numbingly unnecessary. Yet, being on the same page has lasting benefits that can not only unify your marriage, creating a better oneness for each other, but also promote a healthy respect in your children towards your spouse. When they see that you are a firm, united front they also feel that they have firm, united parents. This provides comfort and security in a home.
When you get a chance, get together with your spouse and set apart some time and deeply discuss your style of parenting and what you hope to get out of it. Acknowledge the differences in your spouse’s view (because there will be differences) and talk through them, allowing for common ground. Praise the similarities and find hope in them. Having a firm foundation of unified and consistent discipline, rewards, boundaries and rules to stand on in a marriage is key for your parenting.
 Dr. Larry & Judy Keefauver, Seventy-Seven Irrefutable Truths of Marriage (Gainesville: Bridge-Logos, 2002), 33-34.