How Raising Kids Causes Division in Marriage

divisionFor starters, it’s a lot easier to see now than it was then – when we were raising our kids. There is hardly a mom in the world who doesn’t want to protect her child from struggle and trouble. Most moms want to make sure their kid feels loved and secure. 

When we feel that way, we lose sight of the bigger picture. We forget that teaching a toddler “No” when he’s two will make it easier for him to listen when he’s a teenager. We forget to think about then, because we want our child to feel safe and secure now.

The father of our child (children) usually sees how we are handling things. He has to choose if he wants his child to be spoiled and his spouse happy or if wants to brave the forbidden frontier of parenting differently than his spouse.

Seriously, moms, if we took the time to listen to our spouse, we’d learn some things. We’d learn that our child won’t die of starvation, if they can’t eat later, when they wouldn’t eat at suppertime. We’d learn that discipline and teaching consequences make a child happier in the end – and that it’s worth the frustration and feeling of failure to have a child who is taught and trained as he ought to be. We would have less division in our marriage.

A happy child is an unspoiled child. Even a toddler knows when he always gets his way, and that makes him unhappy. You want your child to be truly happy? Don’t spoil him.

A secure child knows where the boundaries are. She knows what will happen if she goes beyond the boundaries. You want your child to be secure? Have boundaries and don’t move them for her wails or temper tantrums.

divisionA happy and secure child knows he can’t pit his parents against each other. You want your child to be happy and secure? Don’t take his side over that of your spouse’s. Don’t allow your diagreement to cause a division.

Friends of ours disagreed over the discipline of their child. Once I saw the father reach out to correct the child (when she needed it) and the mother put her hand out to stop him. Mom kept saying, “I’m fixing to whoop* you if you do that one more time . . . ”  The kid kept doing that one more time, but mom never gave the whooping.

Finally, her husband said to those within hearing, “If she ever whoops this kid, it’s going to be a good one because she’s been fixin’ to do it for a long, long time!” It was funny, but it wasn’t. Dad knew what the child needed, but mom kept getting in the way. The division continues today. Small wonder that the now-teenager continues to struggle with authority (in the home and in school – pretty much everywhere) today.

Neither parent is a pro on raising kiddos. Both will make mistakes. That’s why it’s important that we listen to each other; this will cause less division.

A father sees things a mom can’t – he sees the bigger picture and the end results down the road. A mom feels things dad doesn’t – she feels the angst of her child in the moment and more quickly notices a broken spirit. Raising children is hard enough when we agree. Put disagreement in the mix and it makes it harder. Not only that, our marriages suffer. We find ourselves with division and our kids caught between us.

Our children need the balance we bring as parents. Our kids need toughness as well as tenderness. They need steel and they need velvet. If we deny them either, our children will be insecure, selfish, and needy. Our children will see a marriage with division and discord.

When we give them a balance of both, we will have kids who are secure, generous, and happy. Our kids will experience a marriage that is healthy as well as happy. Not perfect, mind you – but whole.

One of the greatest disservices we can do to our kids as parents is to allow them to pit us against each other. Moms and dads, stay on the same team! Don’t let your disagreements over raising your kids destroy your marriage. Don’t allow your team to be divided. Your home, your kids, and your marriage will be healthier and happier, guaranteed!

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  • “whoop” is a southern term for “smack, spank, whack” or whatever other term you want to use for giving a kid a smack or firm pat on his butt. A whooping is a spanking. It’s not a beating and it’s not abuse.

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