Do you and your partner fight over how to discipline the children? Tired of playing good cop/bad cop? Maybe these tips will help:
- Expect Parenting Differences: Heck, if you both did it exactly the same, one of you would be redundant.
- Agree to Disagree: Know and accept some things will never be resolved in how you parent. It’s better to accept differences than continue to fight over them.
- Maximize the Opportunity of Differences: If one is better at getting bedtimes to go smoothly, and another is calmer helping with homework, divide your tasks up to take advantage of those those different strengths.
- Support Each Other: Even if you don’t see eye-to-eye, you should support the actions of the other parent. “I am sorry – but daddy said you need to wear a coat. Talk to him about it if you are unhappy about it.”
- Whoever Starts the Discipline – Finishes the Discipline: If mom has applied the logical consequence of taking the child’s plate away because they got down from the table, let mom follow through. Kids don’t need two parents harping on them.
- Talk Later: If you didn’t like how your partner handled a situation, discuss it at a family meeting or when you are alone, but not during the kerfuffle.
- Undermine the Other: If mom said “no” to treats today, don’t undermine her by sneaking a treat to your tot when mom goes to work.
- Fight: If you disagree, talk about it in private after the fact. If you fight over how to handle a situation in front of your child, you’re likely to get more misbehavior.
- Pity or Compensate: If one parent is harsh, don’t feel sorry for the child and compensate by “making it up to them” by being extra-lenient.
- Worry About Consistency Between Parents: Kids only need consistency in each parent’s own behavior – that you act consistently from day to day, not that you act the same as your partner. Are your reactions predictable? That’s what matters. They can understand, “Mom doesn’t allow splashing in the tub, dad does.” Whoever is doing baths can apply their policy and deal with it independently. (Ahh.. and that someone is wiping up the floor!)