Children need rules and they need parents who agree on the basic issues – like being honest and caring. But, do parents need to agree on every issue, from television watching to acceptable behavior? Below you will find ideas on agreeing to disagree.
Let’s say one of you comes from a very strict family, while the other grew up in a more relaxed atmosphere. Rather than fighting between yourselves, make a list of three rules that you each feel are important to you (manners at the dinner table, cleaning up toys, limiting TV time, etc.). Tell the children these are the important rules of the house that they need to follow. Also tell them that they may not ask one parent to overrule the other one, and agree to back each other up even if you might disagree.
Because we don’t always agree on discipline, tell the children that different people have different rules and they don’t always have to agree on them. Regardless, they have to follow the rules of whichever parent is watching them at the moment. If both parents are present and do disagree, take a break to discuss the options and come back to tell your child about the compromised decision.
Sometimes children ask one parent permission for something, and then, if they don’t like the answer, they ask the other parent. Here is a possible solution to this problem: Put two poker chips (e.g. red = Mom, blue = Dad) in a bag, and have the child close their eyes and pick a chip. Whichever color they pick is who will decide on that particular problem.
Always back each other up. If you feel like one of your spouse’s rules needs to be changed in some way, speak to them in private and agree to tell the children the change in the rule. The one rule you should never change between yourselves is