I recently asked my single Facebook friends what they wanted to know about marriage. I had never written a post that focused on singles and marriage, so I shared my thoughts and experience as a married mom with them in What Singles Want to Know About Marriage. Some of their questions pertained to parenting. I felt those questions deserved their own post.
Being married with children is a blessing. I personally believe that God designed parenthood to be a beautiful part of marriage and that it is His will for men and women to come together to create a family–whether through birth or adoption. I understand that for some people, parenthood came before marriage. Often these situations aren’t necessarily planned, but they happen and Godly graciously blesses those individuals and their families as well.
Parenting together has many benefits, like financial support, support with discipline, help entertaining the kiddos and simply the day-to-day responsibilities. Parenting with a spouse (in a healthy relationship) also allows children to see God’s divine creation of love, marriage, and family.
Parenting together also has it’s challenging moments. Two of the questions I recently received pertained to two of the challenges my husband and I often experience.
Q. How do you not show your disagreement to the children?
It is best for parents to resolved disagreements and issues privately. However, it is also a good thing for children to see how their parents (positively) resolve disagreements. I have to be honest. Our children have seen us disagree and not handle our disagreements with one another in the best way. Don’t worry, they have never seen or heard us screaming at each other or getting physical–we don’t get down like that. However, I have absolutely made the mistake of being upset with my husband and, unfortunately, taking out my frustrations on my children, specifically through my tone of voice. I am in no way proud of it, but I want to be real with you.
Q. How do you handle differences in discipline style?
This is an area that we are still working on. Some days we are able to completely agree on how to discipline our girls, and other days we start to fuss at one another because of the difference in discipline styles. I have learned that what works best is that if I totally disagree about how something was handled with one of our children, I address it with my husband once the child is out of our sight. What’s best for both parties is this: respect one another. If the child is not being emotionally or physically abused, relax and allow the other parent to discipline the way they believe is effective. If you see that their discipline style is more harmful than helpful, have a private conversation and discuss other discipline styles that should be used.
I recently purchased Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages of Children to help me get a better understanding of my children. My hope is that better understanding who our children are and improving communication with them will help us as parents to develop the same or extremely similar discipline styles, which in turn will lessen the number of disagreements we have about discipline.
What are some of the challenges you experience with your spouse or child’s father/mother?