(Adapted From Aish Ha’Torah Series & Edited With Additions By Rabanit K. Sarah Cohen)
Here are some Do’s and Don’ts to ensure that you and your spouse are united and build better ties in your family.
- Don’t criticize your spouse in front of your child.
- Don’t sabotage the relationship of the other parent by disapproving of the way he/she is handling a situation. Saying things like ‘you always say the wrong thing’ or ‘that’s how you sit and play with your son?’ is not productive.
- Don’t use your child as a pawn to get back at your spouse.
- Don’t attempt to repair your loneliness in the marriage or your pain by becoming your child’s partner.
- Don’t argue about your child while he/she is present.
- Don’t show favoritism to one child or become his/her defense attorney. Be honest with yourself. If you find yourself constantly sticking up for that child, take a step back and figure out what is happening in your home.
- Do discuss differences of opinion in private, using the respectful tones and words that you would expect your children to use and that Hashem would be proud of.
- Do agree that you will not criticize each other or use disparaging remarks to get your point across-especially in front of the children.
- Do agree that there must be standards of respect in your home; so that when a child is upset or angry he may not put down a parent. When a child says things like ‘she drives me crazy’ or ‘he doesn’t know what he’s talking about’ – this is unacceptable and disrespectful. A child may express frustration or sadness, may ask for more time or understanding, but it must be expressed with proper words and actions. Children should never perceive a parent as a vessel for complaints against another parent.
- Do communicate that as parents, you are on the same page.
- Do decide to sit down together and discuss how to handle the times that you disagree. Talk about the situations that keep happening where one parent is pitted against the other. Discuss the one child in particular who brings out this unhealthy alliance. And then work as a team to resolve the matter.
- Do be sure that children hear positive words from both parents.