When you look at your parenting styles, do you and your spouse work together? Or, is one of you the enforcer while the other one gets to be the “fun mom” like Amy Poehler in “Mean Girls?” In “Keep it consistent when parenting,” Jodi Fuson wrote for the Lincoln Journal Star:
“Back and forth, up and down. Parenting can be like a roller coaster if you and your spouse are not on the same page.
Consistency in parenting is crucial for keeping peace in the home, according to Licensed Mental Health Practitioner Rebecca Dacus.
‘If one parent is (consistent), and you aren’t, you’re setting yourself up for behavioral problems of some kind,’ she said.”
I’ve been a stay-at-home mom while my husband worked in an office away from home. I feel that situation made me more hands on and I dealt with all the small disciplining stuff daily. He was free to come home and jump in the pool with the kids, carting them around on his back and being a fun guy.
Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t the only enforcer in our family. When there was a larger issue where discipline was needed, he’d step in. We did have very different childhoods and I think that can cause friction and parenting problems. In any case, it’s best to work out parenting strategies earlier rather than later, the article emphasizes:
“Families that seem to be able to stay on the same page tend to eat meals together and do things together that promote communication, said Dacus, who employs Systematic Training for Effective Parenting to help parents she works with in her practice.
Dr. Nick Stevens warns that if parents aren’t on the same page, a sense of unity, integrity and security can be lacking. So why is it so hard to find unity in parenting? Stevens said it has to do with how we were raised and the roles of our own parents. Also, parenting isn’t something that comes naturally.
“You have to constantly pursue it,” he said.
First, parents should discuss their own upbringing, what they liked and didn’t like, and what they see other people do. “It can give couples a vision of what they want their parenting to be like,” she said.
Next, they should list behaviors from least to worst and potential consequences/rewards for the children.
“They need to figure out what are the definite no’s of things happening in their home versus things that aren’t as serious,” Tapley said.
Parents need to take turns dishing out rewards and consequences so that one parent is not always the “enforcer” and the other the good cop, Tapley said.
“You want to make sure that both of you are doing that — giving out rewards and consequences,” she said.”
I think this article provides sound advice—and I wish I’d read it about two dozen years ago! All in all, I think my husband and I were on the same page, most of the time. It’s good food for thought though, consistency in parenting. I think consistency between spouses is important, but also be consistent with your kids. I’m talking about bedtimes, treats, discipline—all that stuff. It can be tiring and sometimes it’s easier to give in. If you find yourself giving in often, maybe it’s time to rethink some of your family’s rules.
Do you parent differently than your spouse? Are consistent with your kids?