I remember as a child I hated it when my mom would say, "What did your dad say?" when I would ask for permission to do something. As a teen, I learned that this habit between my parents could actually work to my advantage, as I told each parent that the other said "yes" to my request. Even though I may sometimes get away with my manipulations I also found that they could cause a great discipline dilemma in the household. As an adult, I realized that it can be difficult to bring together two parenting styles, no matter how similar they may be, and found that these tips can help avoid the He said, she said arguments between parents.
Bottom line instead of bottoming out. It's important to establish a bottom line position long before a parent "bottoms out" in disciplining. My husband has a different tolerance level for some behaviors than I do, and letting the behavior continue as long as he would permit sends mom into a temper tantrum of her own. What is your bottom line? Make sure the other parent and the children know what it is.
Agree to disagree. You are not always going to agree as to what form of correction is needed. When we were first married my husband declared that spankings were not acceptable forms of discipline to him, at all. He had never had children, and now that he has four he can see that there may be some benefit to spanking. He doesn't judge those that do, but he has stuck to his guns that he doesn't. That's good, because I feel that there may be a time and place and that on some rare occasions I don't skip the spankings. But at least we agree to disagree.
Make a list and check it twice, who is naughty and who is nice. It's important to have a list of rules for parents and children to follow. This way everyone knows which actions carry which consequences, and how many chances you get. Mom and dad both know the length of a "time out" and the reasons for it, instead of one parent doing 10 minutes and other doing 20 minutes. It may seem silly at first, but by knowing expectations both parents and children can behave a little better.
Consistency is key. It doesn't matter if you are a single parent or a couple; consistency is the key to successful disciplining. One parent can't let not doing chores slide while another parent corrects. Not only does it confuse children but it confuses parents too. For many parents it shows a lack of respect for the other parent's parenting skills. The only thing that a lack of consistency can bring to discipline style is disagreements, arguments and chaos. Enough of that and you will have more than a discipline dilemma on your hands.
Agreeing on discipline styles, guidelines and bottom lines make not only for better parenting, but also for better parent relationships. It's a win for the whole family.
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