Learning how to communicate about child discipline in a marriage is essential for a well-balanced family life. If you are in a marriage where one of you is strict and the other is lenient, you are only going to frustrate your romantic relationship and confuse your children. Instead, your children should see you as partners not only in your marriage, but in your parenting styles.
Discussing your parenting styles is an important topic of conversation whether you have children together or are only just beginning to plan a family. This can be an uncomfortable topic to bring up, especially if you and your partner were raised differently or have vastly different ideas of how to discipline your children. Here is what you should know about communicating with your marriage mate about correcting your children.
Children Respond to Consistency
Learning how to communicate about child discipline in a marriage is important not only for a balanced relationship between you and your partner, healthy co-parenting also has a favorable effect on children. Studies suggest that children who see their parents acting as unified partner’s in parental decisions feel more secure in their home life. It also makes your child less likely to see one of you as “the disciplinarian” and the other as “the one who always says yes”.
How to discuss Child Discipline as Biological Parents
As parents, you need to act as a team in order for your child-rearing to go smoothly. If you disagree on an aspect of child discipline, you need to strive to see the other person’s point of view and meet somewhere in the middle. It isn’t in the best interest of anybody involved for one of you to undermine the other’s parenting choices. Work hard to stay on the same page in your journey of parenthood. Respect one another’s decisions and back one another up so that your child knows you are in this together.
How to discuss Child Discipline as a Step-Parent
Step-parenting can be an awkward adjustment, especially if the child is older. How much authority do you have to discipline a 16-year old child? Whether your children are five years old or fifteen, you and your marriage mate should discuss in detail what your role will be in the upbringing of your stepchild.
Talk openly about boundaries, successes, and issues that have occurred or may come up in the future. Keep your children in the loop as well about the responsibility their step-parent has over their well-being.
Discuss your Own Experiences
Often your parenting styles are based on the way that you were raised. Be open with your spouse about how you were raised and what you liked and disliked about your parent’s disciplinary action. Encourage your parent to share some tips so you can best discuss what methods you agree on.
Discuss your Parenting Plan before becoming Parents
It is never too late to discuss what kind of parents you and your partner want to be. Of course, it is always best to have this conversation before you get pregnant so that both parties are aware of how their spouse feels about different parenting styles. Some things to consider before having children are:
How to Discipline
If you were raised to get a smack across the hand or backside when you did something wrong, you may not feel there is anything wrong with using this parenting style with your own children. On the other hand, if you grew up in a household where such practices were considered a form of abuse, you may be appalled by your marriage mate practicing this behavior.
How to Handle the Big Stuff
While some parents dream of being their child’s best friend, others feel that crossing from parenthood to friendship may make the parental line too hazy. Children who are friends with their parents are more honest and open about their lives, however they are also more likely to take advantage of the parent’s friendship. It is best to discuss with your mate how they feel about this style of parenting.
If your child comes to you admitting that they are getting ready to have sex with their boyfriend/girlfriend, will you be a parent and try to talk them out of it, or will you act as a friend and supply birth control while explaining to them the importance of safe sex? Neither option is right or wrong, they are just different styles of handling the awkward side of parenting.
School and Electronics
How will you discipline your children when it comes to spending too much time on social media or cell phones when they should be doing homework? It is important for your child to do well in school and focus on their studies. Discuss together a fair and encouraging routine for your children when it comes to using electronics. You may decide that one hour of computer-time is adequate on school days, but the weekends are fair game. Whatever you decide, choosing how you will discipline your children when it comes to the importance of higher education is definitely worth discussing.
“What would we do if…” Situations
One great way to discuss how to discipline your children when you are planning for a family is to bring up “What would we do if” situational questions. For example, go back and forth answering questions about what you would do if your child: sneaks out of the house, is caught drinking/smoking, is doing drugs, is watching pornography, if swearing, is disrespectful to teachers, is being a bully. Discussing these situations beforehand will enlighten each of you to the other’s parenting style and help you discuss how you can meet in the middle when disagreements arise.
Always Discuss Discipline Privately
Be proactive about discussing your child-rearing choices and make time to speak to your partner privately about these matters. Never argue about your decisions as parents in front of your children. This will only confuse your children and encourage them to pick the parenting style that most benefit them. The disagreements in your marriage should be kept private.