Creating a Parenting Partnership
- February 11, 2016
- by Melissa Lawrence
Hello everyone. Thrilled to be back today with one of Reflections Thursdays posts, in which we’re talking about happiness, wellness, peace of mind, and being your best self and parent. Today, we welcome Jaimi Erickson from The Stay-at-Home-Mom-Survival Guide, who has some great tips when it comes to respecting and compromising with your partner when it comes to the kids. Read on for Jaimi’s sage advice and for more on Jaimi, see below. Love, Melissa
It has taken my husband and me a few years to create a true parenting partnership. Seeing eye-to-eye has not always been easy. He is a military guy, so we go from parenting together to him not parenting at all for stretches of time. Distance taught us how important it is to create a parenting partnership for our marriage and children.
My husband deployed when our oldest was six months old and we had a conversation that revealed a common parenting vision. I was feeling like I was not doing enough by being a stay at home mom and not working outside of the home. My husband said, “I am glad you are home with him (our son) since I am so far away. He needs someone to be there for him.” I knew then it was our joint mission for me to be a stay-at-home mom – and that we had a common goal – but we still faced challenges.
At times, we disagreed regarding discipline. My husband wanted complete compliance from our oldest. I was willing to negotiate with our son when he did not want to eat all of his dinner or when he showed a complete lack of interest during clean up time. When my husband went away again, I was able to see the benefits of his point of view. We met somewhere in the middle, insisting that my child do his chores and be respectful, but being less punitive about how long it took my son to get there.
My oldest son now cleans up with no problem. He understands why we want him to care for his toys. We use the same strategy with our other children, because I know that being clear about what we expect will help my children become disciplined over time.
Here are my tips for creating a parenting partnership:
- Know why you are choosing to parent in a certain way. Explain to your spouse where you are coming from. He may not agree, but at least he will know your point of view.
- Be willing to compromise. It is not always necessary for the same parent to “win” each disagreement. Children learn big lessons when mom and dad engage in compromise. It’s healthy for every relationship to alter who casts the winning vote.
- Vocally support your spouse in front of your children even when your spouse is not present. My kids often say, “Daddy is not here,” as if I don’t have to do what Daddy wants if he is not home. I want them to learn that he and I are a team. When my husband is not around, I make sure he’s part of the picture. That way his presence is always felt. He feels included, and the kids respect him.
- Discuss everything with your spouse. You feel he is not listening to your perspective? Tell him. He feels you are not backing him up? Listen to him. (Then read #2 again.)
As we have learned to understand each other’s perspective, and gotten older (aka more mature), my husband and I have learned how to develop and maintain a parenting partnership. We have had tough moments. Moments where I thought we would never agree. Yet I’ve learned that my husband does not have to agree with every parenting choice I make to support me. I’ve also learned that even when I don’t agree with the choice my husband wants to make, that there is a way to support him even so.
Our marriage is a priority for me and it’s my mission to make it last. My children will eventually move out. Hopefully my husband will not! Fellow mamas, support your marriage by creating a parenting partnership. When both of you create a clear vision for how you want to raise your children, you will be able to compromise and make parenting decisions with less argument, less strain on the kids, and less strain on you as a couple. This leads to greater peace and happiness and a solid footing for the future.
Jaimi Erickson is mom to four, a military wife and former teacher. She shares encouragement for moms, homemaking tips, and simple activities for kids on her blog The Stay-at-Home Mom Survival Guide. Her floors are often messy, her sink is often full of dirty dishes, but she aims to find joy in this busy season of motherhood. You can connect with her on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram.