I believe that parenting together and being consistent is important, but it’s absolutely a learning process.
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One of my worst habits when it comes to my husband is the act of assuming he knows everything I know. I’m a work-at-home mom and he’s a work-outside-the-home dad. There is no way for him to know every detail of what goes on in our house every day. So, when there are important milestones, behavioral issues, or other changes that make a difference in my parenting challenges, I need to share this information with my husband. Making sure he knows what’s going on at home is crucial to his ability to keep his parenting consistent with mine. If you are the parent who spends the most time with the kids, remember to communicate your daily discoveries.
An obstacle I notice and hear about frequently with other couples is a lack of patience in one or both parents. If you have a situation where one parent has more patience than another, you may think it’s better to always let the patient parent handle the complicated issues. Unfortunately, this can take its toll on the more patient parent. Discuss this with your spouse and come to a compromise. If you find yourself losing patience then, by all means, ask for help, but don’t play good-cop-bad-cop with your kids. Both of you need to take responsibility and learn to be patient. If Mom has had a rough day, it may just need to be Dad’s night to handle the kids. It’s better for the children if parents can take turns with the more unpleasant issues because it helps them understand that both parents are equally responsible for them and deserving of their respect.
When you do disagree on a parenting method, be sure you take the time to discuss it with one another when the children are not present. Don’t correct the parent in front of the children. Unless the child is in danger, wait until you have time alone with your spouse and then approach it in a positive way. Let your spouse know that you appreciate the help, but you want to find out if another action would be acceptable. Try to reach a compromise and then be sure to support each other if the situation re-occurs.