(Adapted From Aish Ha’Torah Series & Edited With Additions By Rabanit K. Sarah Cohen)
Since both the father and the mother want what’s best for their child, there are a few ideas to remember before starting to discuss anything related to parenting with your spouse. How do you argue your point?
Not in Front of the Children
This is one of the few main rules in parenting. Nothing will be gained when arguing in front of children.
Children need their parents to provide them with security. They feel secure when their mother and father work together as a team, as a unit. When they see their parents arguing, they feel insecure. Don’t do this to your children. Most decisions can wait. Tell your children that you need time to think and then discuss the matter with your spouse.
Back Up Your Spouse
If your spouse already told your son that he can or can’t go out with his/her friends, you’ll need to swallow hard, bite your tongue and don’t say anything. Always back up your spouse, even if you don’t agree with their decision. In the long run, whether or not your son goes out won’t make a huge difference in his life. But watching his parents disagree will negatively affect his emotional well-being and can have long term consequences.
Parents have to act like a unified team.
Of course, once your son leaves the scene, you are free to talk with your spouse about what rules you expect your son to follow and what should be your policy if he doesn’t follow them.
Respect and Compromise
Now that you’re alone, you and your spouse can discuss parenting.
Conversations about parenting should follow the same rules as all spousal conversations. You should be respectful and learn to compromise.
We shouldn’t blame or lay the guilt. It’s not your spouse’s fault that your child was punished in school, didn’t follow the house rules or did something out of the ordinary that was unexpected.
Respectful conversation focuses on practical plans for the future: What are we going to do now? What punishment or rewards should we give our children? What rules do we need to implement? What will we do to strengthen our relationship with our children?
Compromise is inevitable and important. No matter how wonderful your marriage may be, you and your spouse grew up differently and have different views. One parent tends to be stricter, and one tends to be looser. You need to think of a policy that both of you agree upon.
One spouse thinks that your daughter should be able to go out with her friends while the other thinks you shouldn’t let her go. Maybe you can let her go but with a warning? Tell her you noticed she was a few minutes late yesterday, when she was supposed to come home and that you won’t overlook another infraction again. Or, you can offer that her friend should come by instead of her leaving the house.
Ultimately this decision is not going to make a big difference in your child’s life. What will make a difference is the fact that you and your spouse present a united front and that you model respectful and caring behavior.