As Parents, are You Showing a United Front?
This is the final article in a series about Parent Teams. In our last 5 articles, we have focused on some foundations necessary to build a strong co-parenting team:
- “Parents Working Together”
- “Parent Communication”
- “Compatible Parenting Views“
- “Respecting the Other Parent’s Point of View”
- “Parent Training”
Today we will focus on showing your kids a united front.
Your goal is to show your kids that you are part of a reliable, strong and functional parenting team. When you achieve this goal, you accomplish a crucial and possibly life-saving step.
How can united parents be life-saving?
When you show your kids that you are part of a united and strong team, your kids will have the hope and confidence they need to help them solve problems and not feel alone. That builds a feeling of security and stability in your kids. When kids know you are there to support them, they know where to turn – and that may save their lives one day.
Your kids should never hesitate to come to you for help because they fear they will add to the conflict between you and the other parent(s).
Kids already have enough excuses for not seeking help; they sure don’t need a big obstacle in their paths to getting support from their parenting team. By presenting a united front, your parenting team will successfully earn credibility and reliability in your child’s eyes. That will provide the security and support every child deserves when facing problems.
The Do Not Do’s of Unite Parenting:
Do not undermine your partner: This action accomplishes the following:
- It weakens your team’s power to stay in charge of your child’s well being.
- It sends mixed and confusing messages to your kids about the rules, boundaries, and expectations, and makes you look unreliable, and in the long run, even incompetent.
Do not point out your co-parent’s flaws to your kids:
- Badmouthing the other guy historically always backfires, and it results in making the parent who is being negative look weak.
- It sets a bad example.
- I believe the most harmful outcome is that if the so-called “flaws” belong to the children’s biological parents, then the children believe that part of them is genetically faulty and bad! Creating this impression of a “faulty genetic factor” is especially harmful to your kids’ personal development.
Do not play good cop/bad cop: Unless you have extensive training in doing this professionally, I highly recommend against it.
- Kids are much smarter than parents give them credit for. They would be onto you fairly quickly.
- If you were successful in using this method when your kids were very young, stop as soon as you can. Why would you stop? For 2 main reasons:
- As kids get older, you’ll find the “jig is up” as they say. I actually witnessed my five and eight year old nephews try the good cop/bad cop routine on their uncle and me to convince us to do what they wanted. The fact that the eight year old had coached the five year old was cute! And quite an eyeopener too. Sure, I have very smart nephews, but your kids are most likely just as capable as they are. Also, if your kids were to catch you trying to pull this off, you would lose credibility! That wouldn’t be good.
- It creates the impression that one member of the team isn’t on the same page as the others. Your “united front” becomes damaged in the eyes of the kids. This wouldn’t be good either.
Dr. Sherkat is a parent strategist who is available to do Parent Education Workshops, either Private or PTA Sponsored Classes.
Contact her at 425-772-6698.