Effective team parenting is a key ingredient for a happy relationship between two adults. Conflicts over how to raise children without a means to resolve differences can create a deep and permanent rift. The adults in charge need to be flexible, creative, supportive of differences and committed to find acceptable solutions as children mature and adults evolve.
Explore these questions to start building a healthy team parenting approach.
- What would you like your relationship with your children to look, sound, and feel like at each age?
- How does your style of parenting differ from your partners?
- What are your values? Are your actions reflecting your values or are they opposite your values so your kids become confused? Do you need to change your actions?
- What were the “shoulds” that you learned about parents and children’s roles? Which ones are you still following?
- Can you really compare how you were raised to how children are raised now? Is society the same? Were you reared in a different culture than where your family is now?
- Can you acknowledge and work on discarding beliefs and actions you learned that you don’t want to repeat? Can you support your partner’s self-reflective journey as well without criticism for both of you?
- What is the cause-effect relationship between your caregivers thoughts and actions and your relationship with them now? Do you feel towards your parents or adult caregivers the way you want your children to feel about you when they are grown?
- Do you understand the difference between punishment and discipline? Research has shown that children will learn good values when parents build caring relationships through respectful discipline rather than punishment. “Punishment doesn’t even teach what not to do, much less the reason not to do it; what it really teaches is the desire to avoid punishment”. (Alfie Kohn, Punished by Rewards, pg. 166.) Are you willing to replace your punishment tactics with discipline beliefs and strategies?
- Are your parenting strategies using the five criteria for effective discipline:
- Does it help children feel a sense of connection? (Belonging and significance)
- Is it respectful and encouraging? (Kind and firm at the same time.)
- Is it effective long-term? (Punishment works short-term, but has negative long-term results.”
- Does it teach valuable social and life skills for good character? (Respect, concern for others, problem-solving, cooperation.
- Does it help children develop the belief that they are capable?
- Are you putting the partner relationship at the center and nurturing it?
- Are you taking care of yourself so you can have the inner strength to set limits and give needed support with your children when needed?
©2013 Cynthia Klein, Bridges 2 Understanding, has been a Certified Parent Educator since 1994. She works with parents and organizations who want more cooperation, mutual respect and understanding between adults and children of all ages. Cynthia presents her expertise through speaking, webinars, and private parent coaching sessions. She is a member of the National Speakers Association and writes the Middle School Mom column for the Parenting on the Peninsula magazine. Contact Cynthia at bridges2understa.wpstagecoach.com, cynthia@bridges2understanding,com, or 650. 341.0779 to learn more about creating the relationship you want with your children.