RTD: How to Parent TOGETHER

Image courtesy of HAAP Media Ltd.

Image courtesy of HAAP Media Ltd.

There’s paying lip-service to being a team when it comes to parenting, then there is actually being a team.  If for some reason you and your spouse have a break in communications, or there is resistance to a point-of-view by one party, your children will smell blood in the water and go in for a feeding frenzy.

I know it is not coincidental when I get home and they ask me for this or that knowing that their mother has already laid down the law in the situation.  I have also learned my lesson too; and will ask them if they have already asked their mother for what they are asking me.  If my suspicions persist, then I will ask my wife myself.

Whenever they try to get one of us to shoot down what the other has said, I try to give a consequence.  It’s one thing to try and get what you want from any situation, but it’s another to begin honing your skills of manipulation.

Let’s go down the short list of how to be a good parenting team:

  1. When in doubt ASK.  There is no authority lost in saying, “Let’s ask together.”  Sometimes knowing that both parties will be brought into the picture is enough of a deterrent.
  2. Blindly agree with your spouse.  Well, in front of the kids.  Whenever I hear my kids whining about something they were told to hear, I “encourage them” to listen to their mother.  Afterwards, or away from the kids, I will ask questions about why or what was going on.  Unless you’ve learned to fight, and argue lovingly, this can mess up your kids.
  3. Humilify yourself.  I know it’s not a word, but it sounded catchier then “humble yourself.”  There is compromise in all things when another human being is involved.
  4. Plan a contingency to the back-up of the Contingency Plan.  If you are clear on the rules and expectations, it is easier to enforce them.  When something happens, talk about it, and come to an agreement on how to handle it in the future.  Firstborn kids are great beta-testers.
  5. Converse about the mundane.  We’ve all heard it, communication is key.  It really truly is.  It is so true that if you tried it, you will see how well it works.  Make sure you talk about everything so that when a new situation arises, you have an insight into your partner, and you know how you both would want to handle it.

Five seems to be a good starter.  I am no parenting expert, but these are lessons I’ve learned from wanting to have a better marriage every year.

This Wednesday we will continue to chat about how to parent together.  Join us on Twitter at #DadsRT starting at 6PST/9EST. 



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  1. Shawn says:

    I’m divorced, and I try to do this to some degree. I don’t consult with my ex- about every thing, but when the kids come to me with some perceived injustice about how “mom says we can never….” then I back it up blindly. Early on, especially, there was “I’ll just play this off on mom / dad because the other won’t know” thinking that went on.

This is what I think...