Listen to this story
People do discipline in very different ways, and you might think some people (even really nice people!) don’t do it very well. What are you going to do if you do not think your partner is doing a very good job of handling the children?
- Criticism won’t work! It may make your partner angry but it won’t change their mind.
- Criticising or undermining them in front of the children is even worse – it can make children upset or they will exploit the differences between you
- Talk about things when children are not able to hear you
- Learn to say positive things about what they are doing. Then without criticising what they already do, offer a suggestion as an addition, not a contradiction. Sometimes offer it as something you yourself are going to try to do yourself. “I really like the way you can keep track of all the kids. You never miss a thing! I could learn from that.” And then add, “I read that if I keep my voice quieter, the kids actually take me more seriously. I’m going to give that a try.”
- Asking their advice in how to handle the kids is a great way to get talking and thinking and problem solving together
Unless your partner is doing something harmful and abusive, a soft and respectful approach is going to work better than a direct confrontation. Kids can actually live with differences in parenting style, in fact most of us remember one our parents being tougher with discipline than the other. But it is so much better if you are ‘on the same page’ with your parenting. Doing a parenting course together can really, really help with that.