Nothing affects the kids more than the relationship between the parents. Our kids are watching us, listening to us, and feeling us whatever we do. We are the first and the most important examples and as we know, the kids are learning from our life.
We have to be careful.
The kids always remember the disagreements first and not what we agree upon together. On the other hand, if the parents say something together, even if it’s not a perfect solution at that moment, the kids will remember the unity and not the questionable solution.
A few advices for parents:
- Understand each other, put yourself in the other person’s position – empathy, listening - you need to become one with the other person for a moment.
- The order of solving the conflict: just the parents first, then with the child
- Accepting your spouse’s opinion and decision; accept each other; expressing your unity with words and in front of the kids, shows parental authority.
- Develop the educational principles together (unity) that will be reflected on the kids.
- If we are disagreeing on something, don’t argue in front of the child, it is better to have less unity than an extreme level of roughness.
- Sit down sometimes and talk over the main educational rules
- After the main rules, try to agree on small things.
Small things like:
- Kids bringing toys, games, or gadgets to the dinner table
- Standing up before others have finished their dinner
- Drinking juice in the bed after brushing their teeth
- Changing clothes upon arriving home
And more smaller things like one more short cartoon before bath in the evening or one more tiny slice of chocolate after the first...
These are so little things
that we don't even think needs to be agreed upon before the situation comes. But then, when we answer the same time to the kids with two different replies, you can never take it back. At that point, it's not only about a cartoon or a piece of chocolate for the child, but an issue of system and unity between parents. So, if the kid is standing there, and receiving two different answers from you. What will you do then?
How can parents handle this in front of the kids?
As I wrote above, if we’re already in the situation and one of the parents say something, whis is not really what we want to be said, at that point it is better to agree in front of the child, then later sit down with our partner and talk it over, in case it happens again. The kids will only remember the unity in the opinion of the parents. That is more important than arguing in front of the kid, especially if that subject is not that super-duper important. Peace is much more helpful to achieve happiness in the family.
We used to say: “ask your mother” or “I will talk about this with daddy,” - these can also work, we can win time and definitely better than shouting at each other in front of your child. If the kid sees his/her parents in an argument, they will find the gap, it will affect them in the future. They are going to skip out from the topic, and they won’t do the right thing, because they will only remember the argument, not the rule or the teaching, in worst cases, they will use it against you in the future. And there is nothing worse when your own children pass back the ball to you. You’ll be speechless for sure, and will be much harder for you to regain their respect.
Don’t let this happen! Be clever and before the worst happens, ask your partner from time to time and talk. I think if two adults know each other, they know each other’s reactions as well as their background, who’s coming from where, opinions, and feelings, then these kind of “conflicts” are easily handled together.
We can learn to solve these disagreements calmly, quietly, and in private.
Maybe it sounds weird to collect these tiny things and will also sound weird when we ask our partner about his opinion about the bunny toy on the dinner table, but it will be worth the time.
Easy to say, I know, and harder to do, but it’s worth a try…. For your kids, for yourself, for your partner, and for the entire family.