You may have heard it said that marriage and parenting is about compromise, but today I’m offering a new perspective. Marriage and parenting is about collaboration. Your partner is not an opponent, they are your teammate, and you are working together to raise your children as best you can. For many families, the challenges that they face are not unlike the next family. From disciplining techniques, to education and daily structure, there are many things that parents can learn from each other. Wether you are a family under one roof, or several, there are some practices and habits that can empower your family and create healthy structure that will empower and inspire your family to grow. As parents learn to work together to serve the best interests of their children, there can be incredible outcomes achieved.
Here are some ways you can begin collaborating as parents:
1 - Discipline together
Decide together on how you will discipline your children ahead of time. This will help you prepare to respond appropirately when your child misbehaves. When you and your partner are on the same page you can determine how severe the discipline needs to be. Many families struggle with feeling like one of them are left with the discipoling. This feeling can leave families feeling disjoined and unsatisfied. Deciding on the consequences together ensures that you are both discipling your child equally. This helps the child know they won’t get away with something because, say, Dad is around instead of Mom.
2 - Put your children to bed together
Switch off or assign different parts of your nighttime routine to each partner. Perhaps one of you reads a story and the other sings a song or prays with the child before bed. Each family will have their own dynamic, so take time to plan. There is not wrong way to do this, so create a routine that works for your family.
3 - Alternate housework and childcare.
While one is making dinner, the other can watch the kids. When its its time to clean up for dinner, switch roles! This type of alternative will ensure you are both present in your children’s lives. This also allows for your family to learn healthy chore routines and contributing to the family.
4 - Check in often with one another
As you start to create structure to your family, there will no doubt be frustration. Be sure to sit together to discuss what is going well and what isn’t. At the end of the day, communication is key! Set aside time once a week or so to communicate openly and honestly about how the week went. As you talk, have the family share their schedules for the upcoming week. Make sure to allow for each person in the family to share as the quietest ones may get overlooked.
Remember, when one wins, everyone wins. When one loses, so does everyone. So, stop looking for a way to compromise, and start looking for ways to collaborate! for more resources on collaborative skills, check out couplecommunication.com.