Parenting is one of the most challenging subjects that I have to discuss with my husband. It seems like everything I think is best, right, and true is actually quite the opposite in his book. I don’t like the word ‘punishment.’ He feels our children need to be punished for bad behavior. I don’t believe in calling them out on every mistake they make as though they are the end-all, but you can guess his approach. I don’t believe in spanking. He feels the occasional swat teaches a good lesson. I disagree with pointing fingers and talking at them. He claims that a finger in the face reminds them to show respect. Aside from all other things, I am just ‘too’ soft and, quite frankly, I feel he is often ‘too’ hard. What’s more, is because I am a teacher and my MA is in Educational Psychology, I find that even when he does step in, I am stepping on his toes. It was, for these reasons, that, for almost 3 years, he chose to completely step back and used avoidance tactics when it came to how we disciplined. There you have it. Seems to be very little chance to find a middle ground. But, we do. I had to, for my sanity.
How were we able to find a place where both of us were happy you may ask? I can say that much of it goes back to the family roles in our household. I am the modern woman, the supporter, the mother, and the wife, and he is the traditional man, the supporter, the protector, and the husband. It was because I wanted more help from him that I made the decision to step back (a little) and let him use his protective, traditional nature.
As I stepped back and encouraged him to not only be more active with how he interacted with the children but to take more charge in the discipline, I began to follow his lead. By showing him that I trusted him, I found that he was more careful to acknowledge my concerns. I can say he was more conscious of how I felt (especially because it was a battle for so long in our relationship). With that, I found that he took more responsibility in HOW he managed their behaviors, the root of our differences in all things parenting.
In the grand scheme of things, this really was a huge success!! So many people divorce because they cannot work through their differences peacefully, and I was able to find a place within myself to let go of control. Somewhere in the process, there was remarkable compromise. Of course, to get to that place, I had to refocus my intentions and to allow him to have more say in the situation. If all things were that easy...RIGHT?!
Today the kids seem more secure than they were before. They know and understand their expectations, they are aware that there will be consequences if they make negative choices, and, in the rare circumstances that harsh discipline does have to be enforced, they can articulate WHY. There is so much to say about finding a middle ground, even if you are the one that has to do most of the compromising.