By: Lauren Tankle
After being a mom for seven years, I have had to learn how to discipline my son alongside my parents, his father and my current boyfriend. Here are some tips I have picked up along the way that I wish someone would have told me in the beginning.
Avoid casting the roles of “nice parent” and “mean parent”
If you are the “nice parent,” your children will look to you to relieve them of every punishment they find themselves, in lots of whining and crying which could cause turmoil between you and your spouse, and could also set a precedence that your kids will never have to actually face a punishment for bad behavior.
If you are the mean parent, your kids might consider your strict enforcement of rules as not loving them as much as the other parent, which could have long lasting effects on your children and your family as a whole. Using the words “wait till this person get home” or “Wait till I tell this person” gives the kids the impression the other parent has all the authority and they might not take your words so seriously.
Talk it out
It’s so important to communicate about strategies or methods that you feel really strongly about. Tell each other why you think your methods are the most effective and what you want the outcome of the methods to be. Calmly explain what specific points you don’t like about your spouse’s ideas and methods instead of saying their ideas are wrong or stupid. How do these methods align with your beliefs? Sometimes people go along with what the other spouse is doing because it’s easier than fighting. You want to avoid having different forms of discipline.
Don’t make empty threats
Try to avoid threatening to punish your kids over and over and over and never actually punishing them. Your children will eventually catch on that the threats are empty. They will push every last button to see how far they can go. If you make the threat that they will lose their tablet the next time they misbehave, make sure you actually take away their tablet when they misbehave. If you don’t plan on doing that, don’t say it. Otherwise, your kids will run all over you.
If one parent makes a threat, both parents have to be prepared to execute. I recently read about a couple that sticks to their threats so strongly that they took their kids out of Disneyland for the day. One of the parents was so angry that the other parent made the threat, but they still stuck to their guns. OUCH. It’ll hurt, but I promise, it’s so effective.