We’ve all heard this parenting advice before. “Never show anything but unity in decisions with your children.” The reasoning can stem from keeping angry conversations out-of-view to keeping your child from thinking a divide-and-conquer counter attack could work. You see they will notice if Mom tells them one thing and Dad tells them another. Like little data-mining spies, they store away this information and know who to ask for what and when. Even if their strategic tactics fail to work, they can sometimes inadvertently cause mom and dad to go at it. And so long as they have even one parent fighting for their cause, a feeling of victory can be claimed.
So how can we combat this and who among you didn’t do the very same thing as children? It’s only natural when two people are co-leading a group for them to have different ideas, personalities, preferences, sensitivities, senses of humor, and hot-buttons. My wife and I are complete opposites. Though this is by the grace of God and I am very grateful that all of my weaknesses are shored up by her strengths (and vice versa) it creates and inherent challenge in presenting a unified front for the kids.
Even if we were closer to the middle in our thinking and personalities, we were raised by people with very different styles which is another source for possible disagreement since so many of us use the pros and cons of our childhood to customize parenting stratagies for our kids. The key moment of course is when a disagreement is discovered. If the two of you have not already discussed your thoughts, feelings, and come to a united conclusion…you are in the danger zone. I admit, I don’t yet possess the proper maturity to table the discussion for another time and I end up talking it out in front of the kids…who then know (at least on some level) that they’ve won.
The older they get, the more important this will be to get better at. How are you doing with this issue at home? What techniques have you adopted and what Scripture verses do you lean heavily on?