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Michelle Gottlieb Psy.D., MFT, LPCC
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Make Parenting Fair

July 2012

Parenting is difficult. It is even more difficult when the two parents do not agree; however, it is not unusual. We all grew up in unique homes that dealt with parenting issues very differently. For example, in your husband’s family, spanking may have been permissible. In fact, it may have been considered good parenting. In your family, perhaps no one would ever think about laying a hand on a child.

These are the things that need to be discussed thoroughly when you have children. Will you use time outs for your children? Will you ground them? It is very typical that one parent is stricter than the other. But both parents need to be disciplinarians. Otherwise, you are setting up the one parent to be the bad guy. This is not fair.

To take this to an even more unfair level: if the two parents have decided what the consequences are for a particular action, one parent implements it and the other backs down. If a child has been told that there will be consequences and what they are, you need to follow through and support your co-parent. Otherwise, the child learns that if he fusses enough, there will be a parent that will give in. What you are teaching the child is not to be a good human, but rather fuss enough and you get what you want. This is a great way to create a spoiled child.

So, talk it out, make sure that you agree and are on the same page. Then back each other up! Your child will be happier and so will your partnership!

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