6 Things to do When You Can’t Agree on How to Discipline Your Kids

6 Things to do When You Can’t Agree on How to Discipline Your Kids December 16, 2015


When we marry, we enter the marriage with different backgrounds and childhood experiences, so things can get a little hairy when it comes to collectively setting our expectations for our own children.  Even though Dave and I share the same goals for our family, we have different approaches on how to get there.  This was never more obvious — and unsettling — than when we started discipling our first two boys.

My husband grew up with two brothers, and I have one sister.  The climate of our homes growing up couldn’t have been more different.  Before we married, we talked about our different experiences and how we wanted to raise our kids.  We seemed to be on the same page in our approach, but things were very different when actually had children and needed to start disciplining them.

As we both started flexing our disciplinarian muscles, friction began to form between us.   I quickly realized that it had to do with our different point of views in how we should discipline our kids.  I was starting to resent Dave because I thought he should be harder on our boys, whereas he thought I was being too strict.  I hated the dynamic that was forming between us.  I knew we needed to work through this; I just didn’t know where to start.  I could see the stress and exhaustion in Dave’s eyes too.  Something had to change.

For more on this, check out “When a Husband and Wife Don’t See Eye-to-Eye”, by clicking here.

After praying about it and giving it some thought, I decided to take the first step:

1.  I addressed the problem face-to-face.

The day I started feeling any resentment towards Dave, I told him about it.  This may sound harsh to some, but I wanted to address the problem head-on.  I told him how I was feeling and that I wanted things to change for the better.

2.  I admitted my weakness in the situation.

I knew this discipline issue wasn’t all Dave’s fault.  I needed to change the way I disciplined the kids as well.  I told Dave this, and he also talked about what he needed to change.

3. We talked about our mission and goals as a family.

I know many families that choose a word or phrase to focus on each year.  This gives their family a mission and purpose.  I love this idea.  Dave and I often talk about how we want our family to look in five, ten, and even twenty years from now.  It helps us to have something to work towards as a family, and it gives us a way to evaluate our progress.

For a honest and funny take on this, read “(Mis)Adventures in Family Team-Buidling”, by clicking here.

4.  We met with mentors who have been there.

As Dave and I worked through this issue, he had the best idea.  He asked me if there was a family at church, with grown kids, that I admired or aspired to be like.  I immediately thought of one in particular and told Dave about them.  He agreed.  The next day, he called the couple and asked if we could have them over for dinner and talk.  They graciously accepted the invitation and came over within the next fews days.

The dinner was great, and afterwards, we shared our struggle with them.  Our friends listened intently and then offered some great advice.  They had raised four children as well and understood some of the unique challenges that come with it.  I still think about the tips they shared with us and have put many of them into practice.

That conversation was a turning point for Dave and I.  In fact, we have met with that same couple a few times since our initial meeting, and we will probably meet with them again in the future.  It’s so nice to have mentors who “get” us and help steer us in the right direction.  I highly recommend finding mentors for your family.  They can offer great perspective and can act as mediators when you and your spouse can’t seem to compromise on a certain issue.

5. We decided to act in conjunction with one another — not against each other.  

This is huge.  In marriage, we BOTH win or we BOTH lose.  We are united.  We are FOR each other.  When we parent our kids, we have to present a united front or they will play us against one another.  It took Dave and I a little bit to figure this one out, but we understand it now.  We talk about the expectations we have for each child to make sure that we are on the same page.  If one is in trouble, we discuss the punishment the child will receive.  If we aren’t able to discuss something and one of us has to give permission or discipline the child on our own, we respect what the other has decided.  This not only keeps our relationship in good standing with each other, but it also sends a clear message to the kids that we are united and in control.

For more, read “6 Ways to be Your Spouse’s Bestie”, by clicking here.

6.  We pray for our kids every day.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought I was “right” about something and ready to make a fool of myself about it, and then I prayed about it and realized I was wrong.  When we humble ourselves and ask God to put our hearts in the right place, He helps us to calm down and see clearly.  It’s important for couples to pray together every day…pray for each other, the kids, the dreams you have for your family, and any issues you have with your spouse or children.  God listens, and He will help you to navigate your situation with grace.

Becoming a mother to four boys has certainly been an adjustment, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.  I’m thankful to have a partner who has my back and loves being a dad as much as a I love being a mom.  If you and your spouse don’t seem to be on the same page right now, when it comes to parenting, don’t lose hope.  Try these six things.  Your marriage will be stronger for it.

For a FUN and easy way to strengthen your marriage, check out our NEW Marriage App, by clicking here.


I’d love to connect with you on Facebook and Pinterest!  Thank you so much for reading, responding, and sharing this blog.  Be blessed!

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