Depending on your socialisation as a child, chances are you and your mate may not always agree on how to discipline your children. You may be strict and he/she may be more laid back or vice versa, and this can cause more arguments than you could ever imagine. So even before having children, some sort of conversation should be had.
But what if you skipped that part and then found yourself in a situation of resentment and bickering because you do not agree with physical discipline or you are upset because your spouse allows your child to talk back and insist that they are simply expressing themselves. Sounds like you have a major problem that can turn out to be a real sore point in a relationship if not checked immediately.
For the most part, there are three main parenting styles that we ascribe to: authoritarian, authoritative and permissive. Authoritarian parents are super old school. They are the “children should be seen and not heard” kind of parents who expect obedience and order while authoritative parents allow children to be themselves and express their opinion without considering them to be rude. The permissive parents just let them run amuck and do whatever they feel like, and this can have dire consequences.
A home divided will fall
So, which are you and what do you do when you do not see eye-to-eye on discipline? Firstly, never let those little rug rats see you sweat. In other words, never let them know that you guys are not on the same page. A home divided will fall, and they will manipulate the dickens out of you and pit you against each other. You cannot let that happen. Always present a united front. You can argue when they have gone to school or grandma’s house.
Take some time, take a step back and think about what you both want to accomplish, and you will realise that you are on the same side. It does not have to be a ‘me versus you’ scenario or that they are teaming up on you. Then write down the main bones of contention so that there is no screaming match.
Establish basic ground rules that are easily applicable about behaviour and chores, and each party should compromise when creating the list of rules. There is no one way or perfect way of disciplining kids, and you will make mistakes as you go. If your partner wants to use physical discipline in the home, make them commit to keeping it light and limited in nature. Any form of bruising or cut means that the punishment was harsh and excessive and should never be repeated.
Do not be in a rush to come off as being tough, as the last thing you want is for your children to be scared of you. You want to be seen as fair, so when disciplining, explain to the child or children as much as possible why they are being punished for the infraction. Then explain what positive behaviour you expect to replace the bad one and ensure that they know that they themselves are not ‘bad’ but the negative behaviour will not be tolerated. Get down to their level and do all explanations in simple straight forward language.