Getting On The Same Page As Your Spouse
Parent Question: How, as parents, can we get on the same page to help our son for his future?
This is another great and very important question.
(Commercial break: We do a workshop for couples on exactly this subject: “Getting on the Same Page.”)
You’ve heard me talk about the importance of creating a vision for your parenting and family; this is one of the best ways to get on the same page.
Within the process of creating this vision, we have to:
- Look at how we were parented.
- Decide what we want to keep from our own parents and what we need to let go of.
- Discuss that with our parenting partner.
- Establish a set of principles that both parents agree on.
- Trust that our partner wants the best for the child.
- Be able to forgive.
The job of parenting requires letting go of our own parents and deciding what from our upbringing is important to keep and what we need to let go of. Within each of these areas we need to recognize that some of the things we value from our upbringing might not work in today’s world. Each parent brings something different from their past, thus making it important to talk about this with the other parent.
An example is my husband whose father was strict with him; he had to earn the money for things he wanted and needed. My parents gave me most of what I needed, and I did not have to pay for things, unless it was considered something beyond my needs. Thus, my husband wanted to give our kids everything (parenting in reaction to his past), and I thought the kids should be given some things but not everything they asked for (parenting as a duplication of my past.) We never had a conversation about where our beliefs came from, and so it became a source of contention.
Parenting from a shared set of principles is also important in parenting from the same page. This gives parents and kids a common language to use in the home. It also contributes to the modeling of character by the parents and the strengthening of character in every member of the family. Without an actual discussion and commitment to putting principles at the center of the family, this usually doesn’t happen. Principle-centered families also have a better chance of avoiding the good cop/bad cop dynamic.
I’ve listed the last two bullet points on trust and forgiveness because, in my experience, we have to give trust to the other parent that they want the best for the children. If that feeling of trust is not there, a conversation about why it’s not there needs to happen. That’s truth over harmony. Each parent will make mistakes, so can the other allow that to become an opportunity for growth by forgiving and moving on?
(Commercial # 2: Write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested in bringing “Getting on the Same Page” to your area.)