When Parents Disagree about Discipline


When Parents Disagree about Discipline | Des Moines Moms BlogIt was your typical Saturday. We had errands to run and Sophia had a birthday party to go to later in the afternoon. Of course, the bulk of our errands were at our my favorite place, Target. We made our way through Target, filling the cart with essential and — okay, okay, ya got me — some not so essential things.

I stopped to look at something and was reading the label. I heard faint bickering between the girls about someone kicking the other and Will’s voice trying to mediate. When I turned back to the cart, I had two whiny girls who were each blaming the other for kicking and a frustrated Will, who handed me the birthday gift we had just picked out, saying, “Put this away, she isn’t going to the birthday party.”

By this point, everyone was grumpy. The girls were grumpy, Will was grumpy, and now I was grumpy. I huffily set the birthday gift on a shelf and set out to follow through with the consequence my husband had delivered to our daughter. As we were walking towards the checkout, Will and I were talking under our breaths about the consequence of not letting Sophia go to the party. It sounded a little like this: “She should listen the first time, and if she doesn’t, there should be consequences,” and me, “I don’t think the consequence lines up with the offense.” To full out shoving each other under the bus with comments like, “You let her get away with everything,” and “You are too harsh.”

Pretty soon, our arguments of what the consequence should be for Sophia turned into personal attacks of our own, including a barrage of things that didn’t have anything to do with the issue at hand — like kids getting trophies just for participation. Again, I tell you we digressed. Majorly.

Once we got through the checkout we still had some errands to run, but I requested to be taken home. In the car our “discussion” continued, and in my stubbornness, I was sticking to my guns that since HE told Sophia that she couldn’t go to the party, now HE had to follow that consequence through. And if HE really didn’t mean it, HE shouldn’t have said it in the first place. Which might be true, and it might be something he is working on. But I am also sure there was a better way to turn this situation around. But stubborn. Once we got home, we also had a very sad five-year-old who now couldn’t go to a birthday party, an oblivious three-year-old who only wanted to have a snack, and two angry, resentful, and hurt parents.

Before we got married, Will and I had numerous conversations about the day we might become parents. We talked about our views on spanking, discipline, screen time, and dating.

Very ideal, picturesque stuff, guys. But no one told us about the day we would be in Target, kids arguing with hungry bellies and the frustration and feelings of being overwhelmed that is parenting sometimes. And no one told us that you can have all the ideas in the world about how YOU would parent BEFORE you have kids that would kick you in the rear once you really have said kids.

When Parents Disagree about Discipline | Des Moines Moms Blog

This situation made us sit back and have that talk again. We came to the conclusion that while, yes, we do have some differing stances on raising kids and discipline, that doesn’t mean we can’t still work together, be a team. One great thing that came out of this situation is that it forced us to sit down (when we were both calmed down) and communicate. It caused us to meet in the middle and come up with a new solution. In this specific situation, we talked about whether Sophia should go to the party or not and came to a mutual decision and validation and understanding of each other’s thoughts and feelings. We also came together to talk to Sophia about her actions and then also, while not throwing each other under the bus, presented the new solution to her.

I need to also disclaim that it might seem like I am throwing Will under the bus again by writing this post or saying I was right and he was wrong. The point of the post isn’t to decide which one of us was right or wrong. I talked to him and he was okay with me writing about this experience to share that even though we may have disagreed, we were able to come up with a solution that benefited everyone.

And in case you were wondering, Sophia had a blast at the birthday party.

Have you and your partner had disagreements in parenting? How did you handle it?


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