Today I have my www.1Corinthians13Parenting.com ministry partner and co-author, Becky Danielson guest blogging. (She's the nice one of the two of us!)
Have you ever had a situation where you and your spouse disagreed over how to handle a parenting issue?
I have. One incident in particular stands out in my mind.
Snow was swirling in the wind, drifting across the driveway. Scott, my sweet husband, had decided to go to the office a little later than usual to clear an exit path for my vehicle. He even started the truck’s engine, warming it up for the short trek to preschool. I (Becky) was thankful for his thoughtfulness and care.
Coats, boots, and hats were on. No small feat! Mittens were next. I crouched down to slip them over my son’s hands, only to be met with total resistance, “No, Mommy. I don’t want to wear my mittens.”
“It’s very cold outside.’” I attempted coercion, “You need to wear mittens, Honey. You don’t want cold little fingers.”
(By the way, reasoning with an unreasonable preschooler is not recommended!)
He furrowed his brow. “I don’t want to wear my mittens.”
Irritation was creeping into my voice. “You have to wear your mittens.”
My frustration level was rising when the zinger came from behind me.
“He doesn’t have to wear his mittens. The truck is warm and he’s not going to be outside too long.” My husband had entered the fray, siding with the obstinate, tiny tot standing in front of me.
All my pent up annoyance was now redirected at Scott.
“What?!? He is supposed to be on my side,” I thought to myself. “How could he undermine me right in front of our child?”
I gave my husband an icy stare and stuffed the mittens in my own coat pocket. I took hold of a bare little hand and marched out the door into the cold. My heart had jumped from warm appreciation to frosty frustration.
I felt disrespected by my defiant child and traitorous spouse. My husband and I were supposed to be a team.
Have you had a situation like this occur in your home? Most parents have. Working together as a team for the common good of the family takes time, conversation, patience, and practice.
My husband and I had a long talk the evening of the mitten incident. I explained my feeling of betrayal. He reasoned mittens were not a battle worth fighting. We concurred; both were valid points.
We pledged to back one another up, to portray a united front.
That being said, there are times it is important to readjust a discipline or decision that has been meted out in the heat of the moment. Just because something has been stated doesn’t mean it can’t be changed.
Unreasonable and extreme punishment need to be altered.
The best way to approach a change in course is for the couple to talk about the situation (out of ear shot of the child). If a change in direction is mutually agreed upon the parent who made the original declaration is the one to present the new approach to the child, keeping respect intact for both parents.
Supporting each other and talking through difficult moments have helped Scott and me parent as a team. Whether navigating the toddler or teen years, being on the same page provides security for the kids and unity between Mom and Dad.