“What do you do when you and your spouse don’t agree on discipline?” That is a question we have heard on more than one occasion.
The best thing about that particular question is the idea that at least one of the parents believes it is good for Mom and Dad to be in agreement when it comes to the important task of parenting. It is interesting to note that even though the problem seems to be a disagreement about discipline or consequences, the chances are great it is over something even more basic.
Before discipline or a consequence can be discussed, Mom and Dad must agree on the boundary they will set. For example, if Dad thinks that being over fifteen minutes late for curfew deserves a consequence and Mom feels like discipline should be delivered if the curfew is violated by even one minute, you can see the potential conflict. How can parents agree on the consequences when they have not agreed on the boundary?
Because it is important for Mom and Dad to see eye to eye on both the boundaries and the consequences for crossing those boundaries, they will need to do several fundamental things. First of all, each parent will need to agree to dialog in order to reach a compromise. That conversation will demand flexibility. Neither one can go into the negotiation being certain he or she is absolutely correct and the other is misguided. Both will need to make concessions. Listening to one another and discussing the issue with no emotion is a must in order to reach a compromise.
Remember, it is not a matter of one parent winning and one losing. It is cooperating with one another and reaching an agreement for the good of the children (and the marriage).
Have you discovered any other keys to help parents agree on boundaries and consequences?