On speaking with a young mother recently, she told me she was having a problem making a stand with her children on certain behavioral issues. She makes a rule and her husband won't back her up. This lack of support makes her feel like the ogre while he remains 'Mister Nice Guy'. She feels powerless when it comes to insisting on certain levels of behavior. Marriage can be stressful in itself but adding children to the mix also adds strain.
Through our blogs we place a great deal of emphasis upon the importance of strong family values and being in agreement on matters pertaining to the child-rearing practices and discipline procedures you will adopt. There needs to be a set of principles, standards, expectations or a code of ethics which forms the framework upon which you base your beliefs and behavior. Your beliefs and your actions define you. Every parent would be proud to know they exhibited a 'stand out' family in the community.
How to reach agreement when it comes to raising great kids.
1. Ultimately, young unmarried couples should talk about beliefs and disciplinary practices before
they marry. I am astonished at how few couples really talk about such important matters and it's
only after their first child becomes a toddler and they begin to discipline, they find themselves at
odds over their ideas in child rearing.
2. If you are already married and have children, and there is disagreement with how you are handling
the kids, it's never too late, although it would have been better if it had been established earlier.
I make the following suggestions:
a) Sit down together with pens and paper and each write down what you want your family to
look like and be known for e.g. They are honest. They are successful in work and school.
They help others. They support each other. They are kind to others. They are good sports.
They keep their word etc.
b) Next, each one write down life values that are important to you. i.e. honesty, trustworthiness,
respect, responsibility, caring about others, obedience and so on.
c) Each person place the values in priority order of importance to you.
d) Compare notes and work out which are most important to both of you. You have now obtained
Note: It is OK that you have different opinions and priorities. Just come to an agreement on
what you can both live with.
3. You can now consider the beliefs and exhibiting behaviors you both want your family to be known
4. TOGETHER, set behavioral expectations and consequences and agree to support each other in
their application. It is important that when you teach each value, you need to also explain what
that value will look like e.g. Honesty means we tell the truth, we don't steal stuff, and we own up
when we do something wrong. Respect means that we will care about others, use manners, obey
those in authority and look after our belongings and those of others. Responsibility means working
as a team around the home, sharing the chores and generally taking care of business.
5. Train your kids to meet those expectations and tell them you stand together so there will be no
playing one parent off against the other!
6. Evaluate the process and congratulate one another as you see peace and harmony develop
between you as a couple, and amongst the kids. When you have attained a positive home
environment and everyone is cooperating you will wonder why you didn't do this long ago!
7. When there are differing view points that cannot be resolved, then the marriage is likely to
be a short one or an unhappy one at best, unless you act. Get professional help before the rot
Go for it! Create that 'stand out' family now! You can do it! We all can do it!
If you have any questions on this subject, I would be pleased to hear from you in the comments section below.
Written by Sally Burgess