How to Resolve Conflict When Parents Disagree About Discipline

In Parenting by srobirosa

Most couples agree on almost everything especially when they first get married. But, what happens when the first addition to the family arrives and it’s time to discipline the kid? That could be a different story.

First things first, we all come from different families with different parenting styles, so it’s very likely that we are going to raise our children the same way we have been raised. We will reflect our own family background on our children, and that’s natural. Makes sense, right?

On that basis, parents have to be aware of that and be flexible with one another because now they will have to work as a team for the next several years. So, the main focus should be teaching the child how to behave. This is not a competition between parents; most times, both points of view are okay. You just have to agree on how to manage the discipline of your children so they can receive one only message from both of you. That’ll give your child a sense of stability.

I know it’s easier said than done. Disagreements may arise and cause flare-ups and tension to your marriage and the relationship with your child. That’s why I share this video with you about what to do when parents disagree on discipline and 6 tips for solving conflicts on that regards.

6 Tips for Resolving Conflict When Parents Disagree About Discipline

  1. Respect Each Other:
    As I mentioned above, parents don’t need to agree always but they have to open the dialogue between them to find the way of implementing the discipline in such a manner that they will be satisfied with the process and the result. Practice keeping calm always.
  2. Create a common goal for the child: What are you trying to teach your child through this discipline?
    This step is very important. Together, define and agree on what you want your child to learn through this disciplinary action. Take turns and try not to interrupt your partner. You both should feel heard and understood.
    Now, don’t forget that to discipline a child means “teaching” the child, not humiliate him. So ask yourself what your child is learning through this discipline.
  3. Show curiosity on understanding your partner’s point of view.
    When your partner is done talking, you may ask questions in order to make sure you understand your partner’s point of view. Both should do that. It can be helpful to ask about your partner’s family history to understand where he/she is coming from. Avoid being critical.
  4. Explore the different methods to teach the child the goal, and arrive at an agreement.
    You both can explore together all the disciplinary actions you can take according to the circumstances and the age of the child. So, this is the time of negotiation. Arrive at an agreement on how to discipline your child always with the well-being of the child in mind. Once the parents agree, support one other.
  5. Avoid second-guessing what your partner is saying in front of the child.
    Never criticize your partner in front of your child. Once you agreed on a plan, put it in place and support each other.
  6. Present one united front to the child.
    Children can be manipulative. It happens very often that parents discuss their differences in front of the child. Children are smart enough to pick up those differences and find loopholes in your dynamic to get their way. They don’t do it on purpose but it’s a common behavior in children when they perceive that their parents are not in unison.

It’s very likely that you will not agree on everything regarding disciplining your children. I always tell parents to have an open channel of communication and discuss beforehand –if possible how to proceed in different situations for future reference.

Remember there are simple disciplinary actions you can take on your own, for example, when your child starts fighting over a toy with another kid; and there are serious misbehaviors that should be addressed together with your partner such as, your child bullying someone else at school.

The more parents apply this technique, the better they will understand that there is no “one truth”. That’s why discussing our differences and coming to an agreement is very beneficial for the growth of the marriage and the family and will help us to find harmony at home.


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