One of the most difficult aspects of parenting is ensuring that you are consistent with your child. This can be made even more unbearable if both parents don’t agree on the way to raise their child. Whether it is the amount of freedom the child has, the chores they must do, the consequences for their behaviour or any other aspect involved in parenting, if a child notices inconsistency between their parents they will take full advantage of this, playing one parent off against another.
You see this scenario a lot with broken families where the parents are less likely to want to co-operate with each other, but the problem can be just as troublesome within traditional family units.
We always try to project a united front. I will never debate or overrule my husband in front of the kids, however if I don’t agree with his stand on something regarding the kids, I will discuss it with him privately, raising my concerns with what he has enforced and then it is up to him to change the parameters with the kids if that’s what we have agreed.
We are both big believers in not making empty threats and if we say there will be a consequence for misbehavior, we will both ensure that is carried out.
I recently saw a friend who was so upset as she had told her teenage son he could go to a party but not sleep over, as she didn’t know the parents well and didn’t know who else was staying. She was going away for the night and her husband had agreed he would pick up their son from the party. The next day she found out that the father had instead told him he could sleep over at the party, I think mostly because it inconvenienced him to go pick up his son. She was livid that her husband had over ruled her without discussing his decision with her and that her son will now think he can get his own way by going to his father.
Raising kids is a joint responsibility, but to ease confusion with the kids and alleviate them playing one parent off against another, it is so important to try to stay on the same page as each other in regards to the boundaries and rules your kids need to respect.
Have you ever found your child playing you off against their other parent? Leave a comment to let me know how you dealt with that!
Picture courtesy of David Castillo Dominici, freedigitialphotos.net