Q: How often do you sit with your husband and discuss how you handle disciplining the kids as a team? And what does that look like during the day when he is working and you are home? Are there instances when you bring things up in the evenings for him to work through with your kids (i.e. the kids give you a hard time while shopping, would Daddy discipline after he gets home)?
A: I would say we discuss these things both seasonally… and whenever there’s a need. So in general, at any given time, we’re both on the same page about the general needs/focus for each child.
For example it might look something like this:
- child x- needs to learn to work with diligence.
- child y- has a tendency to be rude to younger siblings.
- child z- needs emotional control (whines and complains and easily moves toward tantrums)
We do this once or twice a year (usually once on our anniversary date, and then once mid-year when new things have cropped up), so we’re on the same page with the main FOCUS area of growth/character refining that needs to happen with each child. So then we both know to deal with normal parenting issues normally, but that if that particular area comes up with that child, to be ON it with more vigilance and watchfulness than we might otherwise be if it was just an occasional issue. Does that make sense?
But then when something new comes up (i.e., say, a 5 year old is being sneaky in a variety of settings– sneaking crayons and coloring on cabinets, sneaking candy from other people’s stashes, sneaking out of the room on purpose to do things they know not to do), then I’ll raise the issue with him– usually after the kids go to bed… or if it’s really bad and has affected our day, right when he gets home from work while I’m making dinner.
OH! And I don’t generally “save up” discipline for Doug to deal with when he gets home. But there are 2 exceptions to that:
- When I feel exasperated/wounded to the point of feeling like I could lash out in sinful anger. In those instances, if need be, I will save up a matter for him to handle and choose not to discipline in anger.
- With the older boys. Around age 11-12, we noticed a shift where occasionally, the person they respond to best is HIM rather than me. They need his strength, and influence and voice in their lives. Perhaps it sounds like nagging coming from me? Maybe a mom/son thing? Perhaps it’s a personality conflict? Maybe they just need to be reminded that I’m speaking with his authority behind me. Perhaps it’s the age-old young man starting to become his own man in his mother’s house. But in those instances, we opt for Dad to be the one to deal with things. Sometimes that means over the phone; sometimes that means waiting until he gets home.
In our home, those are the only times I “save up” discipline. Otherwise, especially when they are little, discipline/consequences need to be as closely connected (time-wise) to the offense as is possible, so they connect the behavior with the loss of privilege/painful consequence/etc.
So, yes, it takes extra effort and purposeful communication but we do work to stay on the same page and make sure we’re united in discipline/oversight of the kiddos.
IN THE COMMENTS, SHARE: How do YOU stay on the same parenting page with your husband?