Most of the time, kids who grow up in two-parent households eventually figure out which person to turn to for what. Maybe mom is chilled out about extending curfew, for instance; maybe dad’s less inclined to make you study if there’s something really, really good on TV. Children will figure these things out and try to get their way.
If you and your spouse take opposing roles in dealing with your kids, you’re not alone. Many parents take on the roles of “good cop” and “bad cop” in the family.
Your spouse and you might have different parenting styles, but it is imperative that you show a united front.
Here are the benefits of a united front when parenting:
- The most important benefit is that it makes it easier to maintain order, particularly in the mornings, the evenings and when the children need to do homework where the children would benefit from a routine.
- Children will find it much easier to cooperate when they know that both parents agree on the rules. This is especially important when children are under six, as they are easily confused if parents have different rules or one enforces the rules and the other does not.
- Children need boundaries and they need to know what the consequences will be when they cross them. Far from being punitive, it helps them feel safe.
- When children learn that if tone parent says ‘no’ to something they can’t go to the other and try their luck, it teaches them that life is predictable and secure. It stops children from learning how to manipulate others to get what they want.
- Agreeing the rules in the household has the added benefits of helping the adults feel supported. Adults will feel closer if they are in agreement about the rules and back each other up. It can be so frustrating to have battled with a child, only to find your other half giving in to their requests.