Parenting: United or Divided?
Are You United or Divided?
“Mommy, can I have a granola bar?” Once again, I respond with those oh so cringe-worthy words to my daughter:
“What did Daddy say?”
Have you ever been pitted one against the other with kids? You have to give them credit. It is a smart thing, you know – to think to ask someone else until you get the answer you want. But the majority of parents catch on to this little trick pretty quickly and don’t quite appreciate being worked over by their kids to get what they want.
I tell you what, an example just like this can create some pretty significant division in a family. When children learn that “no” isn’t unanimous, this opens up a fun door of experimentation and manipulation to get what they want. Before you know it, there is major dissent as parenting styles roll in opposite directions and the child is either confused or having a hay-day with all the new freedoms.
It Takes Teamwork
How can you be a united front if you do view things differently? And what exactly constitutes a “team”?
I’m so glad you asked.
Parenting is hard. You can’t lay out a script of exactly how things will go. You have these tiny humans who are growing in the blink of an eye, and their brains are developing faster than they can even keep up.
There are the ages of countless questions, testing their independence, and finding their own voice.
When you have a partner, it isn’t just one voice raising your children, it’s two. Throw in blended families and you may have up to four parents trying to raise a child. Considering each of us has a mind of our own and our own perspective on things, this can get pretty hairy.
How Can We Get On the Same Page?
In my podcast episode this week, Nathan and I talk about the importance of being on the same page. When we are united, it creates a confidence of “the pack.” I know I’m not handling things alone – we have each other’s back.
But we don’t agree on every single thing. Going back to the parenting aspect, we parent differently. That being said, we don’t parent competitively or against each other. Remember, we’re on the same team!
The way to get on the same page is simple – what is your family vision?
For us, it’s six simple words:
If we can come back to these as the ultimate goal, and are a united front to ensure this is the backbone of our family, it helps us move forward as a team.
He’s Not Out To Get Me
It’s not about just trying to be disagreeable with one another. Oftentimes differing opinions come from a place of pride. We believe it’s our way or the highway, and that we know best.
Give a little credit here. This other person you think is horribly wrong happens to be the person you chose to not only spend your life with, but procreate! That beautiful brain of theirs is who they are and so much of what attracted you to them in the first place.
Judgement has no place in a relationship. It’s looking at another person with an immediate opinion of them in the wrong and you in the right. Humility, on the other hand, sees a difference and then looks at two things:
- How is this a reflection of who I am?
- Am I mad she’s late because that’s something I struggle with?
- Am I angry at him for roughhousing with the kids because he’s the “fun” one and I’m not?
- What can I learn from this?
- Maybe it’s okay to not get worked up about time. Maybe we keep things in perspective and recognize some of our time constraints are self-imposed and unnecessary.
- When he plays with the kids, he reminds me to stop and laugh with them. I don’t have to become him, but can find my own version of play.
Humility and teamwork go hand-in-hand. It’s the willingness to accept that we see things in different colors, and together it makes a beautiful rainbow. We all have the opportunity to learn from one another and raise one notch higher to deeper connection with ourselves, and with others.
Marriage Is Like Football
Just like in football, the quarterback depends on the fullback to cover for him and keep him protected. (And yes, I had to look up the fullback). Think of how they work it out on a football team, though – they get together, they discuss the play, then they go out and execute it.
In an instant, it can change. Someone intercepts the ball and the whole play changes. They didn’t have time to discuss their next move, but they all know the ultimate goal. For the fullback, it’s one thing – protect the quarterback. It’s not because the fullback is so perfectly selfless he never considers his own needs. It’s because he recognizes that, to win the game, he needs to play his role and allow his other teammates to do theirs.
We have different roles in our families. Not black and white, no compromising, I won’t touch the dishes that’s your job sort of deal. It means we all have our own strengths. When my kids want crazy imaginative play or high energy roughhousing, Daddy is who they run to. When they need comfort and are upset, the tend to go to me first. We are both capable of doing the other, but we recognize where our strengths lie, and it’s okay that those skills are different.
United We Care
Ready for my super hokey saying I just made up? In your home, it’s not “United Air” it’s “United We Care”! You care. That’s the bottom line. You care so much that you want affirmation on what you think from the one you hold dearest. You want to be on the same page with your partner because of the synergy and confidence that brings to your life.
Care enough to compromise. See the other side. Remember how to disagree in a way that is loving and respectful. And be a team of beautiful differences with a common goal. Love. Commitment. Connection. Respect. Desire.
Find your words. What defines the relationship you want to have with your partner? Write down what that looks for you both, and come back to it when you feel divided.
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