I’m excited to continue my “Spring Clean Your Marriage” Series with my next guest blogger, Aimee Imbeau. See her bio below to find the link to her site and, then be sure to connect with her on social media as well.
I had a choice to make…and only moments in which to make the best decision for what just went down. The way my husband dealt with one of the kids left me upset and unhappy. I did not like it one bit.
I could either tell him exactly how his parenting strategy was wrong right there in front of the kids and extended family. Or I could bite my tongue and discuss it with him in private.
More than 10 years have passed since that moment. And while I still don’t agree with how he handled the situation (hey, we can’t all be perfect parents, right?), I am confident that I made the correct decision in biting my tongue and waiting to discuss the matter when we were alone instead of challenging him in the moment.
When you undermine your spouse’s parenting, a whole host of problems can begin to develop, and it is a messy mothering method for sure!
If I had confronted my husband in front of the kids and extended family that day, the door to confession and repentance likely would have been closed. He would have shut down, refusing to discuss the situation in a productive manner. He would have been embarrassed and humiliated. And the opportunity for growth as a parent would be missed.
You see, while I was quite upset about what had transpired, I am so glad I waited until later to discuss the problem. My husband was calmer and more open to hearing what I needed to say. He was also ready to apologize for his behavior to our child – which is huge in parenting.
If I had called him out in the heat of the moment, his strong-will would have taken over and there likely would not have been an apology. While the issue started out unpleasantly, it ended with a stronger bond between daddy and son. And our son has had no adverse effects from the situation.
If I am honest, I can’t type away here pretending to never have undermined my husband’s parenting.
That would be a lie. Because I have done that.
I have openly challenged his parenting decisions in the past. I am sure most of us have done so to some degree. And when that happens, we need to own up to it and apologize to our spouse. Then we need to be intentional to not do it again.
One of the biggest problems that come out of undermining your spouse’s parenting is that children miss out on having a beautiful bond with both parents.
Eventually, they may view your spouse as a deeply flawed person (they have no clue how to parent correctly, right? You are the one who knows best, right?) instead of seeing both parents as equals who are devoted to caring for and nurturing them.
Another serious problem that can occur is that children will learn to manipulate their parents to get what they want.
Kids will sense that you are on their side and the other parent is not. In essence, you are pitting your children against your spouse, and that is not healthy.
They will begin to view you as ‘good cop‘ and your spouse as ‘bad cop’, enabling them to manipulate to their heart’s delight.
And let’s not forget the effects that undermining your spouse’s parenting will have on your marriage. It’s easy for bitterness to creep into a marriage when you feel like your spouse is critical of everything you say and do.
Is There Any Hope?
Thankfully, there is hope to overcome this problem. It will require a lot of work and a whole lot more grace and forgiveness. But it is possible.
Here are a few tips to help you get back on track …
1. Two Parents, One Team
First of all, you both need to realize you are on the same team. You aren’t fighting against each other. You are supposed to be fighting together to raise children who love the Lord and follow after Him. Children who will live their lives for God totally sold out for Him.
That is the main goal in Christian parenting, isn’t it? To have kids who love the Lord with all their hearts, minds, soul, and strength – right?
When my husband and I disagree on a parenting issue, we simply come back to this goal. It helps keep us grounded and working as a team. And besides, when the kids are grown and gone, who will be left?
[bctt tweet=”Reflecting on this truth helps me keep parenting in perspective. Find out what it is at Messy Marriage today! @AimeeImbeau #SpringCleanYourMarriage #parentasateam” username=”BethSteffaniak”]
2. Biblical Application
A Scripture passage that comes to mind often when we discuss our parenting strategies is Ephesians 6:1-4:
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.” And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord. (NKJV)
This passage reminds us that we are a team as we endeavor to cultivate obedient children. Our children are called to obey and honor both parents, not just one.
We must make it easy for our children to honor and obey, and being united in how we discipline and parent is key to helping our kids do so.
When kids are divided between parents, it is clear that it is not ‘going well’ for them. On the other hand, when kids see parents as a united front, they are much more content and the family is more stable.
When parents are fighting for the ‘top dog’ position in parenting practices, it can lead to ‘provoking our children to wrath’.
[bctt tweet=”Our kids need the stability of peace and harmony in the family in order to thrive. And that begins with us, the parents. @AimeeImbeau #messymotherhood #positiveparentingpractices” username=”BethSteffaniak”]
And the last part of this passage is a great reminder of our goal as parents, to bring our kids up in the training (nurturing) and admonition of the Lord.
I love looking up words in the interlinear because it gives me a better understanding of what I’m reading. Here is what I found for ‘training’: Training also means chastening, nurture, instruction.
The Outline of Biblical Usage says this about the word …
“The whole training and education of children (which relates to the cultivation of mind and morals, and employs for this purpose now commands and admonitions, now reproof and punishment) It also includes the training and care of the body.”
3. A Few Rules
What are some ‘must-have’ rules?
I’m not a big fan of a bunch of rules in a family. I believe that too many rules cause bondage and fear. But there does need to be some basic ground rules when it comes to cultivating a healthy family.
For example, one rule we have in our family is that we will talk respectfully to each other (uhh…I’ve broken that rule on occasion…just sayin’).
My kids know that they are allowed to disagree with me on anything, but they must show respect while voicing their opinions.
Come up with 2-3 rules that are definite for you. Ask your spouse to do the same. Then compare lists.
Can you agree to support each other on these rules?
4. Have Your Spouse’s Back
Backing up your spouse in front of the kids regardless of whether or not you agree with them shows your kids that both of you are in charge instead of no one. Even if you don’t agree with your spouse, your unity will promote peace and harmony in the home.
Pray with your spouse and ask for the Holy Spirit’s guidance in your parenting. Pray on your own for yourself and your spouse. And, of course, pray with your children.
Never cease praying for your parenting – the best parenting advice I’ve ever received was from the Lord as I sought Him on issues our family was dealing with.
Messy Mothering Methods such as “When You Undermine Your Spouse’s Parenting” creates fertile ground for bitterness and animosity to grow in the family. But hope is not lost.
With the help of our Heavenly Father, we can change and become united with our spouse.
Aimee is a home educating support teacher who lives in the sunny Okanagan, BC. Aimee has been blissfully married since 1998 and she still swoons at the sight of her tall, dark and handsome husband, Marcus. When she isn’t home educating her 3 kids, she enjoys sewing, quilting, scrapbooking, baking, writing and hanging out with her family. Aimee is a certified teacher who works from home, supporting and encouraging homeschool families. She blogs at A Work of Grace and you can find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.
Be sure to join me next week in the “Spring Clean Your Marriage” series, when I’ll be sharing how to clean up a disrespectful attitude towards your mate, as well as how to avoid it moving forward. I hope to see you then!
Which tip mentioned above will you commit to working on in order to begin spring cleaning your marriage?
When have you violated this important principle for parenting and how did it go for you?
Here are some other lovely linkups I join – Inspire Me Monday, Literary Musing Mondays, Tea and Word Tuesday, Purposeful Faith, Tell His Story, Recharge Wednesday, Porch Stories Linkup, Welcome Heart, Worth Beyond Rubies Wednesday, Encouraging Word Wednesday, Sitting Among Friends, Destination Inspiration, Tune in Thursday, Heart Encouragement, Moments of Hope, Grace and Truth, Faith and Friends, Faith on Fire Friday, Fresh Market Friday, and DanceWithJesusFriday
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