Teamwork equals great parenting
You and your spouse need to work together as a team to raise your children well. Here are some tips on how to do so.
Great parenting doesn’t come easy — in fact, you and your spouse need to work together to raise your children the best way you can. One of the best ways to do this is to practice team parenting.
What is team parenting?
Team parenting is simply working together to raise your children. It is being united in your methods of discipline and the expectations, rules and guidelines for your home.
Team parenting also means that you and your spouse agree in advance about the style of parenting you will make your own. It’s being like-minded in helping your child grow to be the best person he or she can be.
How to be a great parenting team
1. Show your children you are a team.
Always present a united front, especially when your children are around. By being united, you will show your children that asking Mum about something will have the same results as asking Dad.
In order to accomplish this, you will need to refrain from arguing in front of your children, especially when you are arguing about them.
You will also need to back each other up. Even if you don’t agree with a decision your spouse made, don’t let your child know that. Speak to your spouse privately later.
2. Decide ahead of time how you will handle the ‘normal’ child-rearing issues.
These issues may include the following: defiance, disobedience, lying, kids mistreating their friends, sibling arguments/fights, not doing chores, etc.
Waiting to decide on how to discipline your child when needed is poor parenting. You run the risk of being too harsh in the heat of the moment, which can cause your spouse to overcompensate by being too lax.
3. Be consistent in your parenting.
You and your spouse should both agree on how to handle situations — and do so in the same manner every time. Consistency is one of the keys to great parenting.
4. Spend time together as a couple discussing your children at least once a week.
It is only natural that one parent (usually Mum) does the majority of the day-to-day parenting (staying current with the kids’ schoolwork, activities, etc.). By talking about what is going on in your child’s life, it will be easier for both of you to practice great parenting.
5. Don’t be afraid to say ‘I’m sorry’ and admit your mistakes.
Just in case you haven’t figured this out yet, your children know you aren’t perfect. So go ahead and apologize to them when you’ve done something wrong.
Acknowledging your mistakes to your children will alleviate some of the stress they feel to live up to unrealistic expectations.
6. Be affectionate and loving with each other.
A child who sees his/her parents in a strong, loving, committed relationship will realize that you are committed to him/her as well.
7. Divide some of the day-to-day parenting tasks up between you and your spouse.
Great parenting involves knowing when to share your roles and tasks as a parent with your spouse. Don’t feel pressured to handle everything on your own.
But what if my children’s father and I are separated or divorced?
The number of single-parent families is, unfortunately, growing steadily. However, no matter what your differences are with your ex, you cannot lose sight of the fact that you still owe it to your children to love and parent them as a team.
Remember, it took both of you to ‘make’ your child, so it is going to take the both of you to raise him/her.
Of course, it won’t always be easy.
In fact, it may be downright hard, but you owe it to your kids to do the best that you can. They didn’t ask to be born so they certainly don’t deserve to be stuck in the middle of your unhappiness.
So, in case you are a solo parent, here are some great parenting tips for you… and your child’s father:
1. Don’t try to turn your child against your ex.
It doesn’t matter what he or she has done, it isn’t your job to form your child’s opinions of the other parent — even if said parent has abandoned, neglected, or abused your children.
If these things have occurred, your time will be better spent reassuring your children (and getting them professional help, if necessary) that what happened to them isn’t their fault or the result of something being ‘wrong’ with them.
2. Don’t talk about your issues with your ex or the details/reasons for the divorce with your children.
Again, whatever issues you have with your ex are not your child’s problem. You need to reassure your child that the divorce is not because of something he/she did or a lack of love for him/her.
3. Don’t burden your children with the fact that their dad isn’t paying child support.
They will only take this as rejection by him. Instead, try to encourage them by giving them your unconditional love and support.
4. You and your ex need to ‘divulge’ your household rules, expectations and guidelines to each other.
Knowing what is and isn’t allowed in each household will help you both to parent your kids more effectively, and keep a better handle on what your children are doing.
Note: For the good of your children, the two of you should make the rules and expectations of your homes as similar as possible.
5. Don’t badmouth a step-parent, if your ex chooses to remarry.
While you have every right to be given proof that your ex’s new spouse or partner provides your child with a safe, caring and positive environment, you don’t have a right to deny your child the benefits of having someone else to care about — and maybe even love — them.
Needless to say, no stepparent shouldn’t and can’t take your place, but you might even find an ally in them if you let yourself.
6. Back each other up.
No matter how you feel about each other, your love for your children and your desire to parent them to the best of your ability and to the degree they deserve should come before anything and anyone else.
Don’t lose sight of your ‘end goal’ as parents
Parenting isn’t something to be taken lightly. It’s the most admirable, difficult, wonderful, fulfilling, gut-wrenching, joyous job in the world.
This is why it deserves your best. Your children deserve your best, and they deserve to see the two people who ‘made’ them love them enough to work together to equip them for life.
What other great parenting tips can you share with us, especially when it comes to working together as a team? Let us know by leaving a comment!