Divide and conquer is the oldest military strategy known to man, and our kids can be masters at this art if we parents are not on our A-game.
Child discipline is by far one of the most divisive issues when it comes to blended families.”He is your son,” or “she is your daughter” are bombshells that open wide the city gates and let the opposing army ravage the city. When you form a blended family, there is one Mom and one Dad. And Mom is the mother to everyone in the family as is Dad the father to everyone in the family. It is admittedly much harder to come together as a family when divorce is a shadow in the past, but you must strive daily for unity and consistency.
We did not always agree on child discipline either. But we never disagreed in front of our kids, or undermined the other spouse when they were not present. Our kids figured out fairly early that if Mom knew something, then Dad knew it also.
There was one instance in particular where one of our kids asked Linda permission to do something and she told them no. The child then sought me out in my home-office and asked me the same question, hoping to get a different answer. All of a sudden, I heard Linda calling out the child’s name with a crescendo-voice…the child had been found out! Linda and I protected eachother’s backs.
On this note, a simple story is worth telling. This happened three different times when each of our sons hit about 3 years old. When it came to discipline in our house, the ultimate buck stopped with Dad. God designed it that way. But there were some aspects that came along with the job title that were not always wonderful. One such item was that Mom usually got more of the warm-fuzzies from the kids, especially if discipline was in the air. No one wants to be labeled the bad guy, but I knew this was part of my responsibility. On each occasion, we came to a point where the son would obey my directions, but they would retaliate by withholding all affection toward me. I was miserable, but what could I do? I could not demand that the child love me; I was defenseless. It was at that point that my dear wife Linda took the son aside privately and explained to them that what they were doing was wrong. She explained to the child that she loved me, and that she would not allow this behavior toward me to continue. When I was completely defenseless, Linda restored unity in our family.
Moms and dads, do your very best to take care of one another.