Have you ever had to be confronted with something you were doing wrong, that you didn’t even know you were doing wrong?
We’ve all been there, haven’t we?
Here are a few common mistakes that couples often make in parenting that they may not even realize they are making. However, they can still be costly.
Are you guilty of hurting your family with any of these unintentional, yet common mistakes?
1. Correcting your spouse in front of your kids
I know you don’t always agree. But when those times come, it’s really important that you discipline yourselves to put on a unified front when your kids are watching. Sometimes its a whole lot easier to just say, “Honey, let’s talk about this later”, than burdening your kids with an unnecessary feeling of insecurity that comes from seeing mom and dad at odds with each other.
Even if you genuinely believe your spouse is wrong in a situation, do your best to make that known in private, not in the presence of your kids.
2. Siding with your kids over your spouse when there’s a conflict
Let’s face it, from time to time, you’re going to see eye to eye with your kids over your spouse on certain issues. It may be that you don’t think they deserve to be disciplined for something, but your spouse does. Or you think your spouse is being too harsh, and your child is being treated unfairly.
In these types of situations, one of the most dangerous things you can do for your family is to side with your child over your spouse (at least if it’s done in the child’s presence). Because when this happens, the seeds of disrespect and contempt are inadvertently sown in your child’s heart.
While the last thing you would ever want to do is set your spouse up for parenting failure, that is exactly what you will do if you throw them under the bus and side with your children over them. The solution to this type of situation is simple – have a conversation with your spouse in private, come to an agreement or compromise, and then explain it to your children as a unified couple.
3. Giving your kids permission to do something your spouse has said no to
Kids are smart, and they know that if one parent won’t give them the answer they want, then maybe the other parent will. In our home, our children understand the consequences if they ask one of us something that they know the other has already given them a clear answer about.
However, if in any family, one parent regularly goes behind the back of the other, and gives their child permission to do things that they have already been told no to, they have successfully sown the seeds of division in their family, and they shouldn’t be surprised when they reap an unwanted harvest in years to come.
4. Having and enforcing different rules than your spouse
One of the greatest keys to successful parenting is two people being on the same page, going in the same direction, and trying to accomplish the same vision for their family. Anytime that children begin to sense that there is a certain set of rules when one parent is present, and a different set of rules when they are absent, there is a great potential danger in the home. This could involve what kids are allowed to watch, listen to, eat, or say, etc.
Dad and mom need to get on the same page when it comes to rules concerning chores, expectations, respect, discipline, and so many other areas. This can be especially difficult for step families or single parents whose kids live in more than one home with different sets of rules. But as best as possible, for the sake of the children, every family needs to find as much common ground as possible in this area.
5. Giving your kids greater priority of your time and attention than your spouse
This is often one of the most common mistakes that couples make in parenting, and don’t even realize it – focusing more on their relationship with their kids to the detriment of feeding and growing their own relationship with each other.
When parent and child become more of a team than mom and dad, mark it down, there’s going to be problems.
Never forget that God gave you your spouse first, and your children second. And anytime that your relationship with your spouse suffers, your children will naturally suffer as a result. Strong marriages make for strong families. So do what it takes to put your spouse first, and don’t ever apologize to your kids for doing so.
None of us would intentionally try to hurt our family, but it’s very possible we’re doing it without even knowing it. If so, let’s make the necessary course corrections.
Let’s make it our goal as parents to make our home the most safe and balanced place for love to grow, character to form, and future family precedents to be set.