It’s no secret that marriage is hard work -- not to mention parenting. Considering the national divorce rate, which hovers between 40-50%, depending on your source, too many of us aren’t up to the task. A big part of that problem comes from parenting, specifically, the failure to parent on the same page. What am I talking about? Well, do you ever feel like you’re the bad cop while your partner gets to be the good cop? Exhausting, isn’t it? Or maybe your partner is the disciplinarian and you find yourself walking on eggshells around kids who know they’ve got your number.
Whatever the situation, attempting to parent from two different pages or positions, is downright impossible; certainly not sustainable for the long run. Unless you want to bow out of the race entirely (please don’t), take a look at the following 4 Pillars of Parenting with a Punch. Let me help you get on the same page and empower your parenting efforts...
Understanding the 4 Pillars of Parenting with a Punch
What does it mean to parent with a punch? It means empowerment. It means backing up your decisions and actions with confidence and clarity in your judgment. But the strength required to strike the right impact isn’t always easy to muster… especially with a partner. A quick check of my Google analytics shows that “parenting on the same page” is the number one search of my site.
No wonder so many of you are calling for reinforcements, and here they are…
Pillar #1: Effective Communication with Your Partner and Children
First and foremost, your family was founded on the relationship between you and your partner. The way you communicate, address, and engage one another will translate to your children. Believe me, they are watching and they aren’t missing much. You need to master effective communication between the two of you in order to foster clear and kind communication between yourselves and your children. Communicate with kindness and keep the focus on listening before speaking. The inability to listen can result in obstacles to critical messages ever reaching you. Open ears, open heart, closed mouth… that’s the rule until the floor is yours and you feel in command of the message you wish to send.
Pillar #2: Own It!
Own what, exactly? Everything! Own your energy, your mindset, and your behavior. Listen, in this life there are few things we can really control. But, those three - energy, mindset, behavior - are well within your remit. Do not blame, but look inward and assess your role, your actions, and your outset before looking to those around you.
Pillar #3: There is No “I” in Team
I know -- total cliche, but totally true. You cannot focus on you when you’re trying to tend to your team. Granted, you are integral to your team, but you, alone, are not the team. In order to parent on the same page, you have to share a page. Attempting to flip back and forth between disparate pages only closes the book and kills communication. As frustrating as that is, consider the consequences experienced by your children. Take a moment (or as long as it takes) between you and your partner. Get your heads together and figure out what the focus is for your family. And be flexible! That focus can, and will, change over time. After all, your kids are growing up and the challenges with every milestone will vary. You need to be able to bob and weave together, according to the same playbook, specifically, the same page of said playbook.
Pillar #4 - Draw a Different Line in the Sand
Discipline is an important, useful component of parenting. Where would we be without it? It’s the recourse to the bad decision or questionable choice made by our children. As many of you already know, but for those who don’t, my definition and style of discipline hinges on expectations, rather than reprimands. I believe that clear expectations, rather than reactionary punishments, are what best set children up for success.
No matter your personal definition or style, too many of us rely on discipline as a destination, not an ongoing journey. In other words, we discipline via decisive action, but often miss the educational component required to really make a lasting impact. Does your child understand why he or she is being punished? Do they know why the behavior is problematic? Do they really? Or are you just assuming that these interactions are clear and impactful?
Too many partners value different disciplinary styles, which can lead to confusion.. Of course, if you and your partner are confused, how clear do you think your kids feel about what’s going on around them? Children thrive on predictability with respect to routine and response. Variations in response between partners can be damaging and, ultimately, sets kids up for failure because they aren’t confident in the rules of the game.
The Bottom Line.
The healthier and happier you are as a couple, the better chances your children have of emulating your behavior. Children pick up your energy and will take what they know as they grow older. In order to set them up for success, it’s imperative that you and your partner acknowledge your value systems and share the same principles of parenting.
Children need to see you working together as a team in order to feel safe and secure following your lead.