How to Become a Team
February 18, 2015  |  Written by Carlota Nelson

Each person is different and we have our own points of view, which is precisely what makes us unique. Depending on the way we were educated, with our values, goals in life, traditions and customs, our opinions on how to raise our children many times differs from our partners´ perspective. The problem is not whether we have differences but how they are expressed in front of our children. Recent studies prove there is a direct relationship between our children´s behaviour and our disagreements. Keep reading to discover how to raise your children by being a team and the dangers of not doing it.

We know that children imitate our attitudes and behaviour but what is the impact they receive when there is a conflict of opinion among parents? How can they distinguish what is right and what is wrong if their parents don´t agree?

According to Michael G. Conner, family psychologist, these differences can cause erratic and volatile behaviour in children. “What parents do not understand is that children will start ignoring their desires, values and attitudes if they disagree and express conflictive opinions in front of them.” And we simply lose credibility when we do.

Another consequence of systematically arguing in front of children is that the little ones end up taking sides, and have little or no tolerance for frustration and this could lead to anxiety. Children will even adopt the same tone and volume their parents use when they fight at home. That is why we must take good care of our style and intensity when we argue. We must learn to cooperate even when we don´t agree.

The sooner we learn to accept our differences and be able to argue and communicate with respect and tolerance; the sooner we are able to communicate our opinions with the appropriate style and intensity, the better. But how is it done? Here are 4 suggestions to becoming a unified team at home.


Negotiate terms privately. Before letting the argument spill onto the dinner table, we must solve our differences in private. We must think as a team about the important issues on parenting such as discipline, what sort of punishment, if any, will we enforce at home, what expectations do we have as parents and what do we want for our kids? Will we give them chores? How many hours of TV will be allowed? Surely you wont agree on everything but try to reach an agreement that both of you feel comfortable with. That way the message is always be the same.

Support one another. We must try to avoid undermining our partner in front of our children. That includes funny faces, the use of sarcasm, rolling of the eyes, etc. If you´ve done your homework and decided on a plan, you must stick to it and support one another. If your partner and your son are having an argument, don´t but in, unless you are asked to. You might have a better solution but if you interfere, you´ll be undermining the others capacity to solve the problem and he or she will loose authority.

Asking for Help. There will always be a parenting issue that one feels more passionate about than the other.  When faced with this dilemma and if you really want to get your way, ask your partner for help. You can start off by saying something like: “I now you might not agree with me on this but can we at lest try to see if it works? Please support me on this.” Remember you can always go back and make another plan in private and only when you are both calm.

Empathy. If there is something you don´t entirely agree with but you´ve already decided to go ahead and enforce it at home, instead of expressing your disagreement in front of your children, try a little empathy. Suppose your child wants to be able to stay at home without a babysitter but your partner feels your “baby” is far too young.  You believe he´s old enough but you´ve already agreed that you´ll wait until he´s a bit older. What you can’t do is change your opinion in front of your child but you can use a little empathy by saying something like: “I know that you think you are ready to stay at home all by yourself, but mommy and I decided we´d wait until you are a bit older.” This way you son will feel understood and you wont break your agreement.

Remember that arguing or expressing another point of view is not bad, it´s a part of life and of any relationship. But we must do it with respect and use constructive criticism when expressing our points of view and when listening to others. “I understand what you mean but what if we try to…” “I don’t agree with you on this but maybe we can combine our ways of handling the situation…” If we learn how to do this, our children will be able to manage similar situations at school, at the playground and is a great tool they can put into practice in the future. Being a good team requires work, good communication and the courage to change. And it all begins at home. 


Photo Credits: Randen Pederson

Photo Credits: Summer Skys



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