Monday, December 6, 2010

Being on The Same Page

When you have two people telling you what to do all the time, as Ari does, life can be confusing. In addition to having different personalities, Wil and I also have different parenting styles.

I try to be consistent with discipline, particularly time-outs. Yesterday, Ari decided that he didn't want to clean up his toy cars. I put him in time-out and he still did not want to do it. He was in time-out three times in a row before he actually did what I asked him to do.

It took every once of energy I had not to give up and clean the cars up myself.

Wil, on the other hand, does do time-outs with Ari, but he also gets frustrated and just cleans up Ari's mess because a) he doesn't want the house to be a wreck, which is fair enough and b) he is annoyed that Ari won't do what he's asking him to do.

I'm not always consistent either, sometimes, I'm too tired to deal with the screaming and the whining and I end up cleaning up after Ari out of sheer frustration.

However, I think it's important for Wil and I to be on the same page with discipline. I want Ari to be able to have a predictable response when he acts up. But is this even possible? I remember as a child, if my dad said "no" to something, immediately, the next step was to ask my mom. I knew that I could divide them.

I'm afraid that Ari will learn to do the same.

How do you, as parents, stay on the same page?


  1. Ooof... I am no expert but I have to say that you are RIGHT on all counts. Consistency is king. I really don't Theo to be a petulant brat because we were weenies when it came to discipine. Keep trying!

  2. NO!! And it's sooo bad! We should really agree more, but it's hard. Parents really are two different people, but to kids they are like one unit. Now I really know what parents had to go through!

  3. We have this issue sometimes, but it's because Yasir isn't home much and doesn't really know the "procedure." I think it takes consistency, but also lots of communication between each other about what to do and when to do it. When I was a kid I always asked my mom first, and would pray she wouldn't tell me to ask my dad. See, I not only needed my dad's permission, my MOM needed my dad's permission before she gave a concrete answer. Basically, he ruled everything.

  4. I tried asking my father after I asked my mother and I NEVER did that again. I cannot tell you the exact words but it was made clear that such a route would never work. Oh my!

  5. oh wow...I'm going to add this to the list of what terrifies me about having children. When I was growing up my mom was the all purpose parent because she was always home with us. If we wanted cool stuff like day trips to the zoo and rated R movies dad was the go to parent. Except when you were in trouble, then dad was absolutely terrifying.

    On another note, a teacher friend of mine gave me The Pocket Parent by Gail Reichlin it's this A-Z guide on how to respond to whining, tantrums, refusal to follow directions. I like it because it provides multiple responses for each problem which make sense, because every child is different.

    She said she read it with her teacher's aide, and together they selected the responses they liked and made sure to stick with it. That way they were on pretty much the same page, and after a while the students knew what the expect. She said it took a couple weeks but now it's a habit.

  6. Harriet- Thank you! I totally agree! We can't be wimps! Otherwise Ari will walk all over us.

    Cordy- You make an excellent point. I think the key is even though parents are two different people, to the kid it is important to appear unified.

    Amanda- That's the problem I have with Wil! Because he isn't home a lot and I am the primary caretaker, Ari tends to "get over" on him. It's hard. Yeah, kids are so perceptive!

    JoZina- Sounds like good co-parenting to me. I think it's great that your parents were unified like that!

    Donna- I must borrow that book! Ah, the path to the coveted R rated movie. Yeah, that was my dad's territory too, and he was also scary when mad.


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