In every relationship, and in every family, moms and dad’s have their methods for dealing with parenting their children. Usually, they try to agree with each other and present a united front. Unfortunately, parents aren’t always on the same page. Conflicts arise when it comes to big parenting decisions and discipline. This could be due to the role each parent plays within the family, or perhaps it’s the different way’s each of them were raised by their own parents. But more often than not, it’s those X and Y chromosomes that throw a monkey wrench into our parenting solidarity.
The following are 10 examples of Dad vs. Mom: how we parent differently! These examples are situations that may have actually occurred in our house.
Both Mom and Dad are working in their office. A loud intense squabble breaks out between two of the kids in the next room and it is clearly escalating:
Mom who is clearly in the middle of doing something important looks over at dad, who is watching disc golf on his computer. Mom stares at him for a few moments, hoping her gaze will make him uncomfortable enough for him to get up off of his lazy carcass and go break up the fight. She is unsuccessful at doing so, and has to go break it up herself.
Dad hears the fighting and knows that eventually one of the combatants will come running into the office crying, at which time he will threaten everyone involved for disturbing his peaceful disc golf watching experience. He also knows that mom will probably cave first and deal with the issue. And, he is also able to ignore the angry stare upon her return to the office.
The kids are outside playing, when one of them comes in with an injury. The child, who is crying, reveals a scrape that is not bleeding:
Mom gently washes off the scrape and puts a bandage on it, all the while hugging and comforting the child.
Dad shows the child that the scrape is not bleeding and tells them to “man up!” A phrase that mom hates with a boiling hot passion!
All of the kids are out front in the driveway playing basketball, when one of them comes in crying because one of the other siblings has called him for double dribbling or travelling:
Dad says, “Well, were you?”
Mom goes outside and reminds the kids that it is just a game, and that they aren’t professionals yet, and that if they don’t stop arguing, she will make them come inside and clean their rooms.
All three sons have indicated a desire for Mom and Dad to buy them Nerf or other toy guns to play with:
Mom says, “Are you crazy? There will be no guns in this house, ever!”
Dad secretly wishing they could all go shoot BB guns together says, “You heard your mom!” After all, dad is not stupid enough to go to battle on this one!
One of the kids comes in and asks Mom and Dad if they can go to a friend’s house:
Dad says, “Sure, just be sure to take one of your siblings with you.”
Mom says, “Nope”.
It’s bedtime on a school night. A wrestling match breaks out:
Dad joins in the on the wrestling, and ends up getting all of the kids super wound up!
Mom becomes insanely angry and a starts shouting and threatening everyone, especially dad!
It is the middle of the night, a child comes in and needs comfort from a parent:
Mom does what it takes to get the child comfortable in their own bed and when she finally comes back to her own bed, is very grumpy to find dad is still sound asleep and snoring.
Dad remains asleep throughout the entire conversation, never even realizing a kid is in his bedroom.
Everyone is getting ready “in theory” for church:
Mom runs around the house doing girl’s hair, looking for clothes, shoes etc., making sure everyone has brushed their teeth, in order to make it to church before the last worship song.
Dad gets himself ready, sits at the computer for two hours drinking coffee, and then stands up 15 minutes before the service starts and begins screaming for everyone to “put the dogs away!’ “Get your shoes on!” “Why haven’t you put lotion on yet?!” Then, he goes and sits in the van and waits impatiently for everyone to get in. Then, he complains about his family always running late, all the way to church
The entire family goes out to a sit down restaurant for dinner. Two kids are angry because they don’t want to eat at this particular restaurant. Another two kids are fighting over the same spot at the table. One child is melting down because she is “hangry”, and the oldest child wants to leave because the rest of the kids are driving her crazy:
Mom goes into problem solving mode, making sure everyone is happy, pleading with the kids to stop fighting etc.
Dad eats dinner.
One of the kids refuses to do their school assignment for the day:
Mom and Dad both remind the child that school comes first and that he or she will not be able to do anything else (TV, electronics, go outside) until all school work is done. Both parents will even help them if they need it.
Holy Cow! Both parents agreed on something!
Of course, this is a tongue in cheek look at how men and women, husbands and wives, often differ in their approach to parenting. In our own family, I am the much more permissive parent, while my wife, Carrie, is a little bit more protective and conservative. I also have a much higher tolerance for chaos. This is not to say that all men are the same, but I do believe that our genetic differences have a powerful influence on the way fathers and mothers parent.
With that in mind, here are five things you can do to ensure that you and your spouse are (usually) on the same parenting page.
Develop a “Standard Operating Procedure”
What this means is, you need to look forward and anticipate as many milestones and important moments in your kids lives and agree on a standard answer or procedure for addressing that situation. For example:
- At what age will you have “that” talk with your kids? And who will do the talking?
- What is the curfew at a particular age?
- How will you dish out discipline in certain situations?
It’s helpful for you to anticipate as many situations as possible and develop a standard procedure for each one. If you have a procedure in place, it reduces the likelihood of arguing, and improves consistency, because reason has replaced emotion as the deciding factor in how you will respond. This should provide you guys with many hours of pleasurable conversation on those sleepless nights!
Never Be Hasty or Act Alone
If a situation or need for discipline, pops up, and you don’t know how your spouse will react, be sure to hold off on making a decision until they can have an opportunity to add their two cents worth.
Don’t Over React
Nothing causes more friction and resentment than when one spouse has to repair the damage caused by the other’s rampage, tirade, lid flip, sarcasm, insensitivity etc. I need to remind myself of this one all the time!
Be Aware of the Impact of Your Parenting Actions On Your Spouse
The example I gave above about going out to eat, unfortunately, is very accurate. I need to take on a bigger responsibility for keeping the peace when we go out to eat. On Sunday, my kids took Carrie out to eat for Mother’s Day. I’m proud to say, that I was much better in this area. Go me!
When it comes to family standards, be consistent. Be consistent with your spouse. Be consistent between your kids, and be consistent with your morals. If you are consistent, you will more than likely be fair, and we all know that our kids are obsessed with fairness!
Hey, I hope you found this article both useful and entertaining. It gave Carrie and me a few good laughs while I was writing it!
If you haven’t read my two recent articles on Free Range Parenting, I hope that you will.
Also, it might be totally useful and FUN for you and your spouse to take my Free Range Parenting Quiz. It consists of 10 multiple choice questions and could shed some light on your parenting similarities and differences. It only takes a couple of minutes to complete and it will even give you a laugh or two! To take the test, click on the picture below.