The Discipline Dilemma
We were enjoying a quick conversation over a warm cup of coffee. A young friend quietly asked, “so, really, what do you do when you and your husband don’t agree on disciplining your children?” Before I could offer even a “I totally understand and know how hard that is”, she continued,
“It’s not like you can simply agree to compromise. I mean that child is 100% mine, 100% his and 100% ours. You can’t meet in the middle. What do you do?”
We giggled as we did the math…a 300% child to deal with – wow! We agreed we’d sure witnessed a 300% 2-year-old in full tantrum. Of course, we agreed that the 2-year-old we referred to was “someone else’s child in the grocery store, never ours.
Can you relate to her question – what do we do when we don’t agree with our husbands on how best to discipline our children?
If so, you’re not alone.
There isn’t an exact formula. However, I do believe there are a few specifics that help us set up some crucial parameters to help couples be on the same page when it comes to the discipline dilemma.
- Acknowledge that your backgrounds as parents are different. We are all products of our experiences, whether right or wrong, good or bad. Having the conversation with your husband of your expectations of discipline is key. Have a conversation about how you each view the purpose of discipline and the plan that fits with the purpose. Compare notes.
- Back each other up. Even if you don’t completely agree at the time, in the moment it is important to show your children that mom and dad are on the same page. By disregarding your spouse’s authority in the moment, coming together later becomes more challenging and likely increases the conflict between couples. You can later discuss your concerns when the kids are in bed and asleep. (Note: If there is concern of a child’s safety, neglect or abuse, then an immediate response is both necessary and imperative.)
- Confer, consult, and converse with your spouse in a respectful manner. In order to stay together and truly be on the same page, conversations regarding your children is key. Discuss your children’s strengths and challenges with your husband and your different parenting challenges with each child. Often the communication itself can help can shape needed redirection before discipline is even necessary.
- Define discipline and make a plan together. For some, discipline is defined as consequences to disobedient behavior. For another, discipline might be described as the conversation prompted by a wrong behavior. Discipline is defined as the “training to obey rules or a code of behavior”. What is our goal in training our children? Determine appropriate response/consequence to appropriate and inappropriate behavior together.
As parents, we will teach our children best when they know the expectations, and they realize mom and dad are united in expectation and consistent in correction.
As Christian parents, we have the privilege and responsibility to pray diligently for our children, as we look to the our Heavenly Father as the perfect parent to follow. Let’s use these steps to better be united as husband and wife and to create a healthy, happy family.
Wife Step: Set a specific time of the week to talk with your husband about each of your children. Discuss qualities you see in each one and challenges you’ve noticed need guidance in a different direction.
Saying yes to Jesus in walking by faith has charted an unexpectedly challenging, joy-filled journey for Susan Wilder. From preschool teacher to writer, speaker, blogger, her sweetest moments come through encouraging women to seek God first and realize the hope we have in following Jesus. Tender love for her husband, Frank, daughters Katie, Kellie, and Mollie, son Clay, sons-in-law Chris, Tim and Tolliver drive her hobbies of cooking and reading. The title of Mimi to four grandboys is more precious than ever imagined. Just ask, she’ll tell you all about them. Susan currently serves as the Women’s Ministry Leader at Southeast Christian Church (Crestwood Campus) in Louisville, Kentucky. Blog: www.byfaithandcoffee.com