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When You and Your Wife Disagree, What Now?

Let me ask you, Dad, what do you want your child to be when she grows up?

How about you, Nanay?

Did you have the same answer? No?

Have you ever spent a night talking about what you both want for your child, and most importantly, what you both can do in helping your child learn and be her best?

Now, if you’ve answered ‘No’ to most questions above, then pretty much, your discipline might need reconciling. Because we were raised differently having a differing set of values, we certainly will project ourselves, and act on circumstances differently.

And the problem might come in in the form of confusion from your child. From the time our children are young, we need to put up a solid fort- sets of values, clear and reasonable rules and limits. The home is our children’s learning ground and whatever experiences they have will build their character.

Imagine, Dad says with his big voice say, ‘I’ve had enough of your tantrums, stop that! You are not throwing another toy or else!’ And Mom says calmly, ‘It’s okay, now, now, stop crying, Mommy will buy you a new toy…’.

Or imagine Mommy saying, ‘So you won’t listen ha? I’ll tell Daddy, sige ka!’

Imagine the child gearing more towards a parent. Now, is that good or bad?

We don’t want to create a rift in the eyes of our child. And we absolutely want to do away with threats, shouts or offering incentives unnecessarily to stop misbehaviors. We also cannot just step back and leave the disciplining to the ‘feared one’. (Read What Being Emotionally Responsive Means)

Our values and our goals for our child will shape our actions- with or without being conscious of them. Parenting, in the real and true sense, is transmitting our values to our children.

One dad wants his child to be in the Top 5, while Dad 2 wants to let him be- happy and carefree. Dad 1 will put in hours and hours of study strictly in his child’s routines, will demand that he finishes tasks without excuse, with little rest. Dad 2 is okay, however, for his child to play, watch all he wants, perhaps, and not demand that he get high grades as long as he is happy. In the middle ground, there are a lot of different dads still- you’ll see Dad 3 who wants his child to be happy and of course, learning. He may value his child’s efforts and be content enough of what his child can accomplish.

From here, you can imagine countless other cases where values, and even parenting influences, beliefs and deep-seated ambitions play a role in how children are raised in their home.

Combine two differing worlds in a home, and we are in for a disaster. Let’s sit down and really talk about it.

Here is the big picture of discipline.

You might think of punishment automatically when discipline is brought to light.

We as parents need to set limits along the way so our children can grow and thrive in the world governed by rules- that’s what discipline is. While punishment and consequences play a part in the process of discipline, it is not wholly just those.

Discipline is setting limits, providing direction and guidance, and even the skills so our child will be equipped in handling situations as they grow. It is, in easy terms, correcting inappropriate behavior, and rewarding pleasant ones.

There are three things to take into consideration when we go through discipline. The clear and united understanding of what and how discipline is in your home, the appropriateness of the consequences (and duration), and knowing when to step in and when to let our child learn from their mistake. (More on these in our future blog: Basics of Discipline)

The need for parenting together and putting up that united or at least a balanced front is crucial. Our children are great sponges- they absorb everything, and they will believe everything is right until such time they can discern better for themselves.

Listen, as long as you and your wife cannot agree, then it is hard for you to pave a clear path where your child will tread, confidently and securely. Your relationship and how you handle issues is setting an example of how family dynamics should be. You are the leaders, the greatest role models for your child. If you have set your relationship aside and laid your different views on the table instead, work on putting it back to the limelight, spend a couple hours before the day begins, and in the quiet, exhausted last minutes of the night. Re-commit, and agree to disagree when times call for it.

Now, let’s go back to the ‘confused part’ of the problem when parents differ in views, values and discipline ways. A confused child who grows up in a home where parents who cannot compromise, and worse, who cannot respect each other as they disagree will be what? You tell me.

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