By Ilissa Banhazl, MFT
Do you and your husband/partner discuss things before you give your child an answer about something they want or want to do? Do you ever undermine your partner in front of your child?
Parents need to parent as a team. It’s okay to say that something seems reasonable but you ‘d like to talk to mom or dad about it before I give you my decision.
Do you ever say “Ask your mother”? “Ask your father”?
This gives your power away. It’s okay to say that you don’t know how you feel about it and want to talk to your partner about it before I give you my answer. It’s best to address the child with your answer together. This presents a united front and the child knows he/she can’t play one against the other. We see this often in children of divorce. Divorced parents especially need to work as a team.
If parents disagree they need to resolve this before they speak with their child. Dads and moms play different roles. At times dad is needed to say the words to the child especially as the child becomes a teen. Even though dad may be as nice and kind as can be there seems to be an unspoken fear of dad that sometimes is needed especially with boys. Sometimes mom has to lobby for the kids with dad.
As you see it’s a team effort. This is a consistent way to parent. Kids actually do want you to set boundaries for them. They just don’t act like it!