UNITED FRONT: DISCIPLINE IS LOVE SERIES
Antonio & Christelle Baldovinos | Marriage and Family
Jesus said, “A house divided cannot stand.”
We as parents must always show a united front.
Before we begin, if you’re a single parent, this blog may not relate to you at this moment but there is a grace to bring healthy discipline to your children even if you are doing it alone.
Our kids regularly say things like, “can I have a cookie?” Our first question is, “Did you already ask your Mom (or Dad)?”
Kids will ask for many things. Sometimes it is small and unimportant like a cookie, but sometimes it’s more.
I usually give an answer, “Did you talk to your Mom?”, or “go and talk to your Mom and tell me what she said.” We always want to show a united front. We have a rule in our home that if one has already said no, it means “NO”.
Kids are very smart, and like most kids, our kids already know who would probably say yes or who would probably say no to the particular question they are asking. For example, they know that if they are asking for a treat or a snack, I am the first one to say, “Oh yeah, of course”. Christelle would probably say, “No”.
Our marriage is more important than our children. Our kids are watching us to see if we mean what we say and if we respect each other. When they want to cross a line, they will often do it where there is dis-unity in our parenting, to access the easiest route.
If they see unity, they instinctively know it is futile and far more too difficult to rebel.
It is important as a couple to discuss your standards, methods and values ahead of time and implement them in oneness.
These are things that we decide together. We both do the disciplining when needed and our kids know, that no matter who is implementing the discipline at that moment, even though the other parent may not be present, it’s done together and in agreement.
This is a way we maintain unity and create stability for our kids.
THIS IS WHAT NOT TO DO
“I would let you do this, but your mother won’t”. What does that say to kids? Your divided at that point.
Don’t take this lightly. It’s imperative that couples parent together.
Christelle is not going to pawn it on me to be the “bad cop” and she the “good cop”. When we first got married and we needed to discipline our children, she used to say, “when your dad comes home, he will deal with you.” But that was making me the “bad cop” and when I came home, I was related as, primarily, the disciplinarian. So over the years we have adjusted this and to the best of our ability, the same intensity is given by the both of us.
There is strength to the husband being the final authority but it is unfair for either parent to take the brunt of all disciplinarian action.
This also means that if a child respects one parent and disrespects the other, that parent ensures they honor and respect the other parent. I don’t let the kids disrespect Christelle and if I’m present. I don’t make Christelle defend herself, I jump in and do not allow this.
Also, we can’t say things to our children in private that creates dis-respect for the other. This gives permission for the child to be dis-respectful and ultimately creates rebellion.
Unity means, “what you did to her, you did to me”.
Division means, “You can disrespect them and I’m going to do nothing”.
I have the mandate, when you pick a fight with Christelle, you pick a fight with me. I do not allow division.
Always honor each other in front of your children. Never disrespect your spouse in front of your kids. This includes belittling of any kind.
If there are disagreements, talk about them privately and present your kids with a united front. Fight for it and they will feel secure.
When I was young, I was probably 4 or 5 years old, my mom and dad had just given their lives to Jesus.
As a result of their new fledgling faith, my dad and my mom had decided that they wouldn’t smoke cigarettes anymore. My dad was an architect and on one particular Saturday morning he took me to work with him. While at the office, he grabbed a cigarette to smoke it and he looked at me and whispered, “don’t tell your mother, this is just between us”. I knew that was wrong and I didn’t like it. So as soon as I saw my mom, I blurted out “mom, dad was smoking!”
Obviously my Dad is nothing like this today, he is a wonderful dad and an on fire believer. But the story still has a relatable and important point. Division, even seemingly small, creates disunity and is a breeding ground for sin to abound.
Just as I knew, children know and understand division. I, as a child, watched the power of God rapidly change my parents and they became a strong united front to us as children. No matter where you find yourself now, when we yield your home to God, He brings His grace to change.
We may not realize it, but when we are not united we force our children to choose a side. This is unfair to everyone.
Never Allow a Significant Difference to Develop in How You Express Love or How You Discipline your children.
Your children need both of you to be affectionate.
Your children need both of you to discipline them.
When demonstrated, even imperfectly, your children will experience the wholeness of love. Affection and discipline are 2 sides of the same coin and both are love. As we shared in our first blog, one without the other creates severe problems.
You are both empowered to discipline and you both are supporting one another in seeing your children flourish through it.
You see, when one parent is the “fun one”, the other parent has to be “stern” in order to bring a balance.
If you’re the one who is always having fun, to keep an orderly home, the other becomes the stern parent and it becomes off balance. The same is true of the opposite. This also robs from allowing the more stern one of being able to share their full affection, when they have to pull the weight of the majority of the discipline.
Children need affection and discipline from both the father and the mother. They need both parents to affirm them verbally and be affectionate. You need both to express discipline in a healthy way.
Most couples often have very different personalities, but do your best to present a unified, balanced front to your children.
Don’t let your kids become a casualty.
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