How to Be Your Spouse’s Teammate in Parenting

 

My wife and I work hard, with some success and some failure, to be on the same page when it comes to raising our kids. When our children were small, their little minds were constantly thinking about how they could get what they wanted. It came so naturally to them that they often didn’t realize what they were doing. They just wanted to get what they wanted, when they wanted it.

It’s important to make sure you are always on the same page as your wife when it comes to parenting your kids. Your kids will pick up on any advantage that they can gain and use it against you – if you allow it. Nothing drives a wedge between a husband and wife more than taking opposing stances on decisions relating to the kids. Be aware when this is going on and guard against it. Let’s take a look at what a few of those wedges that can drive you apart might look like and how you can come together as teammates.

Short-Term Memory Loss
Daughter: “Mommy, can I wear sandals to school today?”
Your wife: “No, dear. You have to wear socks and sneakers.”
Daughter calmly walks to the kitchen where you are putting dishes away.
Daughter: “Daddy, can I wear sandals to school today?”

A Twist of Truth
Daughter: “Mommy, can I wear sandals to school today?”
Your wife: “No, dear. You have to wear socks and sneakers to school, but you can wear sandals when you get home.”
Daughter walks into her room and puts on her sandals. Then she walks into the kitchen where you are putting dishes away.
You: “Are you wearing sandals?”
Daughter: “Yes! Mommy said I could. Is that okay with you?”

Trying to Force Your Hand
Daughter hides her sneakers underneath her clothes in her hamper, and then looks for your wife.
Daughter: “Mommy, can I wear sandals to school today?”
Your wife: “No, dear. You have to wear socks and sneakers.”
Daughter: “But I can’t find my sneakers and I don’t have any other shoes to wear.”
Your wife: “Well then you need to look harder. Go find them, please.”
Your daughter is upset that her plan didn’t work, so she comes to you to fix the problem.
Daughter: “Daddy, Mommy says that I have to wear sneakers to school, but I can’t find them. I’m going to wear my sandals instead, okay?”

What’s important is that you and your wife are rock-solid teammates against these blitzes from your kids. They are trying to find out where the gaps are and will run through a hole the moment that they find one.

Any time your children are asking you to make a decision that you know your spouse would want to weigh in on, warning bells should go off in your head. After those bells sound….

  • Ask your child, “What exactly did mommy/daddy tell you because I’m going to ask her/him?” By asking this question, you’re calling their potential bluff and giving them an opportunity to tell the truth.
  • Repeat back to your child what they said.
  • Then talk to your spouse to make sure you’re on the same page before giving the answer.
  • If your spouse is nearby, sometimes it can then be helpful to have your them briefly meet with you and your child so that everything can be clearly placed on the table of truth and as a sign of unity.

This approach takes time and work. But hopefully after it’s been done a number of times, your child will be less inclined to try to play you against one another and more inclined to view you as united teammates.

What wedges have your kids tried to drive into your relationship? How have you responded as your spouse’s teammate?

 

 

 

Here are some more ways and reasons to team up with your wife when parenting:

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