When you get married, you aren’t thinking of dealing with kids. At least, most of the time we aren’t! (there are exceptions, I understand) Usually we are in love with this handsome man – planning a life of fun and happiness. Somewhere in there, we jot down a space for ‘having a baby’, and that’s about it. We don’t plan for the colicky afternoons or the puking at night or the temper tantrums at Grandma’s house.
But they happen.
And while that stuff is bad enough, then you have to decide how to discipline, when to discipline, and what offense is worthy of discipline! That is what I want to write about today, because I feel it causes more stress than the actual ‘work’ that kids bring.
Differences in discipline.
Even if you agree on discipline methods, you may not agree on timing. I thought we agreed on discipline, but with our first child was young, I realized that I had very little idea what he thought about it. I always thought I was the tough one, but come to find out, I am actually a big pushover with the kids. Now not all the time, but most of the time, I am the softie. And I don’t say that as a compliment to myself, either! I get irritated at myself for being that way. I see kids that are totally out of control, and I tell myself: “Kay, this is why you have to say no!” Seriously, young mama: say no. Kids need to hear the word before they go to school.
Anyways, so when our first couple of kids tried out their naughtiness, we reacted differently. And I can tell you; it threw me for a loop. I assumed we’d agree on this, like we agreed on everything else. We never had any big fights, but we did disagree at times. (not every time) And I am ashamed to tell you – I did not react well. I tried to bully and nag him into seeing things my way. Thankfully, my husband is not a puny pushover. We had discussions on the subject, and you know what? Nearly 100% of the time, I would see he was right and I was wrong. Not because he persuaded me, but because God gave Cliff wisdom that He didn’t give me, about how to lead the family.
If your husband loves God, and is truly trying to follow His ways, you can trust him to make the right decisions. Even if he makes mistakes, you can trust him to lead you. You continue to respect your husband, and follow his leading. If you honor God, God will honor you. And if your husband desires to be a Godly father – God will honor that, too. Even if his methods are different than yours.
I made a resolution that I would always support him in front of the children, and if I had an issue, I would discuss it with him later, privately. I felt the kids needed to see Dad and Mom as a united front. Unfortunately there were a couple of times where I failed at this. But most of the time, I stuck to that.
But what if your husband is too strict or too harsh, or maybe not strict enough?
There is a solution to this.
You train the children to be decent little humans.
If you train them to obey, then they will listen when Dad tells them something, and he won’t have to discipline them. If he is lax and you are stricter – that is harder. But again, you train them, because you are with them most of the time while they are small. Then even if Dad allows them to get away with more when he is around – they will still be decent small humans.
What if he doesn’t discipline the kids?
You can’t just throw up your hands and say: “well, my husband won’t do it so why bother?” No, you have a responsibility to your children. If he isn’t training them, you will need to do it. Some husbands have gentle personalities, and have a hard time dealing with the conflict that discipline brings – so you do it!
And please, whatever you do, don’t undermine your husband’s leadership. No matter what your disagreements are on child training, discuss it with him privately. Try to pick a good time, when you are both rested and not already upset with each other. If he doesn’t want to discuss it, just drop it. You are the one who spends the most time with them, so just step up and train your kids to be decent.
What if he is too lenient?
If your husband is more lenient than you, be thankful that he can balance you out! Go along with his ideas and enjoy the ride! You can be tougher on the kids when they are with you, but again; never undermine his authority.
Never talk ill of him to your children, or indeed, to anyone! Always speak respectfully of him to your kids, your mom, your girlfriends – everyone. Train your kids to respect their dad. Point out his amazing coolness and remind him of all the good things he does for you.
Today’s challenge: Ask yourself if you have been respecting your husband’s methods of child training. Have you been undermining him – especially in front of the kids? Be honest with yourself. Take a few minutes to just really think about how YOU relate to him in this area. Pray. Ask God how you can be a better support to him, and what you can do to help him raise decent small humans.
Note: Our kids are getting older, and we are past that hard stage of little kids who needs lots of training. And you know what? We agree nearly 100% of the time, nowadays. I am so thankful for a godly husband who leads our family with love and gentleness and wisdom.