Each parent approaches parenting with their own unique spin. Parents need to respect and affirm each other. There are very few issues that require one parent to question another parent about in front of the children. The majority of parenting differences arise from small issues and petty power struggles. Countless times, I’ve seen and experienced minor issues that have been inflated into major problems. I’ve blown a few issues way out of proportion myself. Upon reflection I realized later what an idiot I’d made of myself and how badly I’d made my spouse feel.
In some parenting relationships, one parent may confuse his role as spouse and father with that of supervisor and manager. He may habitually second guess his wife’s decisions or undermine her authority with the children. I say he, only because the more traditional role-play involves dad going to work and mom caring for the children. If mom is the primary caregiver while dad goes to work, dad should not expect to tell mom how to manage the children while he is gone. He should be willing to listen and offer advice if she requests ideas. He should not micromanage her or attempt to control or correct how she parents their children.
If he sees a gross miscarriage of justice (physical abuse, substance abuse) he should seek out ways to help. Wives don’t tell their husbands how to do their jobs at work. The home is a SAHM’s workplace. The husband is not her supervisor or boss. Many Christian’s confuse the Biblical passage ‘the husband is the head of the household’. Mother is not one of the children: she is the spouse and partner. It’s easy for power hungry men to claim this Biblical passage as a right to oversee every little decision and pass judgment. This is extremely unhealthy for the couple, the children and the family as a whole. The old saying ‘you can’t make bricks without straw’ applies to parenting. When mom (or dad) feels that they must constantly answer to spouse authority they feel demeaned and begin to question their own ability to parent children. Questioning decisions also sets a horrible example for children. It upsets and confuses them. I use the husband and wife scenario because it the more common one.
Naturally, when the roles are reversed, the same holds true. When dad cares for the children, mom should butt out and not nitpick. This is especially true if dad is taking the children so that mom can have some ‘mommy time’. I’ve witnessed countless times when mom proclaims herself exhausted by childcare. Dad takes over, but mom, unwilling to let go of control, is busy ordering him about. In the one short portion of Jon and Kate Plus 8 that I was able to stomach watching, Kate spent about fifteen minutes reading Jon the riot act for not putting the children in their matching red, white and blue coats for a 4th of July parade. That’s big, Kate. Definitely something to cause a family frenzy over.
This article is not meant to criticize men or women in particular. It’s meant to demonstrate to parents what are unhealthy parenting issues and how they affect the family. For more parenting discussions, visit my blog at www.parentinghotline.blogspot.com. All the best to you and yours.