5 Strategies to Bring You Together
What do you do when Mom and Dad disagree 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).