When Parents Disagree on Discipline

by Amy McCready

5 Strategies to Bring You Together

discipline-202x300What do you do when Mom and Dad can’t agree on a discipline philosophy? Dealing with difficult behavior from toddlers or teens can be challenging in any family, but when Mom and Dad are at different ends of the discipline spectrum, everyone loses.

Fortunately, there are 5 simple strategies to bring you closer together in the discipline debate:

1. Start by identifying the aspects of parenting and discipline in which you DO agree. You’ll be more successful by beginning with a foundation of where you do agree rather than focusing energy on the many areas where you disagree.

2. Explore the underlying reasons why you disagree on parenting and discipline issues. Often, the differences relate to how you were raised or they come from a place of fear. Once you understand WHY you disagree, you can work towards common ground.

3. Start small. Begin with the non-negotiables for your family. These will typically involve the health and safety rules (wearing bike helmets, driving before dark, etc) and other areas your family values, like education (homework before playtime) or respect (name calling not tolerated.)

Agree on the limits and expectations for the non-negotiables and clearly communicate those to everyone. Be sure to follow through each and every time on the non-negotiables so your kids see that you are a unified front.

4. When tackling the day to day discipline dilemmas, ask yourselves the question: “What do we want our child to LEARN from this experience or discipline opportunity?” That helps you focus on what will be most helpful to your child. It’s not about winning – it’s about teaching your child to make the best possible choices in the future and learning from his mistakes along the way.

5. Consider an objective 3rd party resource such as a family therapist if parents can’t come to an agreement on parenting and discipline issues.

For discipline strategies everyone can get behind, read Amy’s new book If I Have to Tell You One More Time…The Revolutionary Program That Gets Your Kids to Listen Without Nagging, Reminding or Yelling (Tarcher/Penguin, August 2011).

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About the Author
Amy McCready
Amy McCready is the Founder of Positive Parenting Solutions and the author of “If I Have To Tell You One More Time…The Revolutionary Program To Get Kids To Listen Without Nagging, Reminding, or Yelling”. (Penguin, 2011). She is a regular contributor on The TODAY Show and has also appeared on Rachael Ray, CNN, Fox & Friends, MSNBC, and elsewhere. As a “recovering yeller,” Amy is a champion of positive parenting techniques for happy families and well-behaved kids. Her award-winning online course empowers parents worldwide to correct their kids’ misbehaviors without nagging, reminding or yelling. Amy is a sought after keynote speaker and trusted spokesperson for family-friendly brands. In her most important role, she plays mom to two teenage boys. Follow Amy on Twitter. Connect with Amy.