Check out our amazing podcast episode on this subject “Why It Is Vital For Couples To Be On The Same Page With Raising Kids”
This is a topic many couples dont event think about or implement in their marriage, but if couples are not on the same page while raising kids, it can cause some serious issues in the marriage.
We all come from different backgrounds and have different experiences growing up. Some of us had very strict parents with very structured rules while others had very few rules or structures growing up, so the way we were raised can determine how we perceive things in our lives and how we parent our kids, so it is only natural when couples have different views on how to discipline and raise their kids. While there may not be a clear right or wrong way to raise kids, what is vital is for couples to discuss how they are going to parent and handle different things, and be on the same page in doing so.
Think about it from a sports analogy…let’s say a head coach and assistant coach dont see eye to eye on how to coach their team. They disagree on when to hold practices, how they are going to coach the athletes, the expectations they have for the team, who is going to play or start on the team. Do you think the team is going to be in sync? what are the athletes going to think? I would guess this team has very little chance of success no matter how good the talent is. What will happen is the team will be in disarray and eventually the coaches will get fired and new ones will come in. This is no different than parenting. The parents are a team and need to set guidelines, expectations and structure for their kids to succeed as a marriage and as a family.
We have compiled a list of 15 things Parents HAVE to be on the same page about to find happiness in their marriage.
Curfew – Set a time that kids have to be home by
Determine what time your kids need to be home by on weeknights and weekends. Let them know what you expect and what the consequences are if they aren’t. Many parents including us do this on a night by night basis. Sometimes our kids will call and ask if they can stay out later which we often allow, but the key is we make those decisions together as a team.
How you are going to discipline your kids
Determine as a couple how you are going to discipline your kids and let them know what you expect. Regardless of whether you have a strict, or relaxed parenting style, talk to them openly and make sure what you expect of them is understood. Growing up, I had very little rules but I knew what my parents expected up me to be able to have the freedom I had so to speak.
How many activities they should be involved in (financial strain, and time)
So many parents disagree on this issue. They have their kids involved in so many activities it takes all the free time, weekends and seems like all you do is run your kids different places to different activities. It sometimes feels like a full time job. Another aspect of this is the financial strain it may cause. Kids activities cost so much money now days! Talk about this as a couple and determine what activities your kids should be involved in and how much money you will spend for these. Set a budget and be realistic with what you schedule for your kids. Overscheduling not only can put stress on the parents, but also the kids and can be bad for everyone.
Who your kids friends are and who they spend time with
We often don’t realize the importance of who our kids friends are and who they are spending time with. This can also include adults such as coaches, teachers, youth leaders and your kids parents. You need to be on the same page as to who your kids are friends with and spending their time with. If you are casual about this, it can cause serious problems for both you and your kids.
Deciding what kind of religious and political beliefs are going to be taught, and what standards you are going to teach your kids
Talk to your kids about what you believe and why you believe it as well as the standards you believe in. Share experiences you have gone through and how you formed your beliefs and standards. Nothing will help shape their life more than their beliefs and standards they are taught within the home. Teach them to ask questions and hear opposing views. This will help strengthen their core beliefs and values long term. Talk together as a couple about the beliefs, politics and standards you are going to teach them, and remember that if you don’t teach them these things, someone else will or is already trying to do so.
Their educational path
Be in agreement as a couple as to how important education is and what you expect of them with their grades, and educational path. Obviously they older they get, the more they will be on their own as far as making those decisions but be on the same page and support them with their education.
Entertainment for your child such as reading, video games, movies, social media, music etc
The entertainment our kids view and play now days is horrible. Determine what kind of movies they are going to be allowed to watch, what kind of books they are allowed to read, what access you give them on their phones to access social media and other videos. You have to determine this early and set the rules and boundaries. In our house, our kids are not allowed to have social media accounts or access to that on their phones. We also don’t allow access to the internet on their phones unless we give permission. We have parental control over what they are allowed to see. Now days kids dont have to go looking for pornography, or other things on their phones, that comes looking for them. If this is too strict for you, then let them know you are going to be looking at their devices and know what type of videos they are viewing, what they are texting, and things they are searching online.
Homework and studying for school etc
What kind of grades do you expect from your kids? What happens if they dont get those grades? Do they have to do their homework before they can play with friends or before sports activities? Set guidelines and expectations for your kids.
Your expectations for your kids – and consequences for them if they break the rules
Do your kids know what you expect of them or the consequences if they break the rules? Sit down and talk with them about this and be on the same page!
Appropriate language (what is ok and not ok for your kids to talk about or say)
As parents, how are you going to allow your kids to talk to you as parents? What language are you going to allow in your home? What is ok and not ok to say or talk about? Talk to your kids about the language they use and how you expect them to talk to others.
What kind of parents you are going to be to your kids (funny, strict, serious, easy going etc)
How do you want your kids to look at you are parents? Who is the fun one, who is the serious one? Are you going to be strict and structured, or easy going and less structured? These are things you MUST be on the same page about when raising your kids. I would say when our parents and grandparents were younger, it was the fathers who were very strict and disciplined the kids and the mother was the won who comforted and nurtured them. Times have certainly changed but it is probably safe to say that this worked and the parents knew their role and supported each other. Now days it seems like the kids walk all over the parents and get a way with everything. The kids in may instances control the household. Decide as a couple what kind of parenting you are going to have with your kids.
Responsibilities from parents (who makes dinner, bath time, shopping, errands etc)
Times have changed, this is no longer like what our parents and grandparents grew up with. In our house, we talk about this almost daily and it changes almost daily. Sometimes I take care of dinner and go to the store, do the laundry, run errands, pick of the kids etc. Talk together and determine who is going to do what for the kids on a daily basis and determine who is going to handle the different responsibilities.
Being on the same page about your Childs education, and career for future aspirations
Get on the same page about supporting your children in their future career aspirations.
Bed time and sleeping habits
We see a lot of conflict in this area as well. What time do your kids have to be in bed? Do you allow your kids to come crawl into bed with you? Set times on when they have to be in bed. Also don’t allow your kids to sleep with you in your bed or room no matter how young they are. Your bedroom is for your time to connect emotionally and physically together as a couple.
How your going to talk to your kids about sex, and other hard topics
Nothing is more uncomfortable or harder than talking about sex, especially to your kids but it is some important to do. We see many parents that if their kids ask them questions about sex or what they heard at school, the parents dont want to discuss it so the kids go looking other places. Be open with your kids about sex, answer their questions and make them feel like they can talk to you about anything!
In our house, we have decided as a couple that we are going to be very open with our kids about sex, and other hard topics as we know that if we aren’t on the same page and open with them, they will learn it from somewhere else and it probably won’t be what we want them to be taught.
If you and your spouse can get on the same page with your kids about these 15 topics (and all others), you will experience a much happier marriage and have so much less conflict as a couple.
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