Kids have no trouble understanding the idea of being on the same team in sports. In fact, adults can grasp that idea pretty solidly as well. So why is it that when we get married and have kids that BOOM, husband and wife are no longer on the same team?
5 But Jesus responded, “He wrote this commandment only as a concession to your hard hearts. 6 But ‘God made them male and female’ from the beginning of creation. 7 ‘This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, 8 and the two are united into one.’ Since they are no longer two but one, 9 let no one split apart what God has joined together.” Mark 10:5-9
I have to hand it to my mom, she didn’t hover when our son was little and we were trying to figure out bedtime routines, healthy boundaries and so on. She really didn’t. My dad is the advice giving member of the family – even when it’s unsolicited. My husband’s parents were much the same. His dad was the unsolicited advice giver — usually loud and in public… awesome — and his mom only gave advice when we asked her for it. Even still, up until about 5 years ago my husband and I tried to stick with the way things worked when we were kids.
Here’s the problem with that — he grew up in a teeny tiny town, lived out in the country, didn’t go to church, always had hunting rifles around him, and he was an only child. I grew up in the city, going to private schools, and attending Catholic church with my parents, and had two older sisters. Dare I say we were parenting in opposite directions? Sure, we had the appearance of being on the same team, but really we were sabotaging each other’s efforts.
My sister and her husband have a very simple saying when things get heated at their house regarding parenting … they take a deep breath and say:
Here are 4 simple steps to ensure you and your spouse both understand you’re on the same team, and act like you’re on the same team!
- Create a simple statement like “same team” that you can say to each other when things get heated. This statement is intended to take the emotion out of your decision making as parents. You both want to do what’s best for your kiddo. Period. This is like a huge TIME OUT being called on the field.
- Watch your tone. If you say “same team” like a teenager who swears she knows it all, I don’t think your spouse is going to take that as a time out as much as he will a body check. Put your helmet on if you plan to talk ugly to your spouse because it’s about to get sporty up in your house! Or even better, remember that having an attitude in confrontation tells your spouse you don’t want to resolve anything, but you want to fight and show you’re right. And that makes this all about you, and not about your kid. (FLAG ON THE PLAY!)
- Be prepared to walk away. If an agreement can’t be made on how to discipline your child, take a break. Each of you make a list of three ALTERNATIVE disciplinary actions that have yet to be discussed. Then when the time is right, come back together and talk like grown ups about a solution.
- Stop sabotaging your spouse’s efforts. Don’t go undo everything your spouse has just done. After he grounds your daughter, don’t go to her room and say, “I really don’t agree with daddy, and I say you are NOT grounded.” BAD IDEA. Now your spouse knows you don’t have his back, and your daughter sees an avenue to get between you to get what she wants, anytime she wants it. Kids NEED a unified front. And you do too or this parenting gig is going to swallow you whole.
So whose team are you on?
Or your spouse’s?
Leave your old ways, leave your childhood behind (cuz it’s sooo yesterday).
Become ONE with your spouse.