Tip #6 – Be a TEAM!
This tip is pretty short, and I’m speaking directly to parents for this one.
Make sure the kids know that you and your spouse are on the same team. Your relationship with your spouse comes first. I know that sometimes the child’s immediate needs come first because they are little, but being young and helpless does not by default make them more important than your spouse. One day the children will be out of the house, and it will be critical that you have maintained your relationship with your spouse. You are a couple first.
Do NOT let the kids play the “If one parent says no, I’ll ask the other” game!
If little Johnny wants ice cream, and Mommy says no, then Daddy needs to say no as well. Always back up the other parent in front of the child!!! ALWAYS! If Daddy thinks that there is a good reason Johnny should get ice cream, then he can discuss that with Mommy away from Johnny. If they agree and decide to change the answer, then let Mommy go back and give the news. It’s not good cop – bad cop! There is nothing wrong with saying, “Johnny, Daddy and I talked it over and he reminded me that you ate all of your vegetables today so I’m going to change my answer and let you have ice cream”. That way it is the first parent changing their mind, not the second parent overriding them.
Not only does this show your spouse an enormous amount of respect, but it also teaches your child that marriage takes 2 people working together as a team to survive. You are a living example of what your child will look for in a spouse one day. Seeing parents work together as a team also builds your child’s self confidence and trust. They know they can count on you – both of you – to work together for the best of the family.