Parents aren't always equally yoked, especially when it is time to discipline children. There are no specific instruction manuals about how to manage your children's behavior(s), but it takes a lot of work and dedication. On top of that, you both may not agree with how to get it done. Most importantly, do you even want to discipline? I mean, together? If so, ask yourself these questions below and answer them. Good luck!
Am I Listening?
Don't say yes to this question if the answer is really no. If you cut your spouse off in mid-conversation, then you are not listening. How will you know their thoughts or opinions if you keep talking? Be a good listener, as you tell your children.
Are We Sharing Authority?
If you are dominating the discipline toward the kids, then you are not sharing authority. It is not your way or the highway, your spouse is the parent too. As you tell your children, "share" and you do it too, as in the responsibility of disciplining your child.
Are You Compromising?
It is so hard isn't it, but why? Because we all want our way, just like our children. That's not fair in your relationship and you must settle this within yourself. Crisis hits with being parents and you two must share the same disciplinary values and learn to withstand one another's differences of opinion.
Are you reading the children the same way?
Does mom think no spanking versus you thinking, yes we should spank? There is no definitive way to settle this argument; you just have to make a decision, and choices can always be changed.
Are either one of you impacted by trauma?
If so, seek therapy with a trauma-focused therapist to help you recover. Transferring your past onto your child will only cause your child to feel as if the world is not safe. I'm sure that is not how you want to raise your child.
Fearful of discipline causing trauma within your child?
Basically, you don't know what you are doing with discipline which is what makes you scared to do it. So, just do nothing and pray that it takes care of itself? Discipline causes trauma if you are abusive. You know what being abusive means and refrain from that, but parents who love their kids use strategies to improve their negative behaviors. When you find the strength to discipline, remain consistent!
Can you back away as your spouse disciplines your child?
Pending the behavior, the stronger spouse amongst the two of you can be the one designated to discipline. But, you need to back up as this happens and stop interfering. You can do it.
Do you understand your spouse's family history? If not, talk to your spouse because you may discover that his or her disciplinary strategies stem from childhood. If that is the case, then either you accept that your spouse's behavior may not change, or just get rid of them. I'm just kidding! Keep hope alive!
Are you two able to discuss disciplinary strategies in a calm manner?
Get on the same page, privately, without kid distractions. Do so in a calm manner. How do you expect your kids to behave when you two cannot do so yourselves? Create a list of strategies, independent of one another, then come together and discuss them. Cross off the ones that you disagree with until you have a list of disciplinary strategies that you agree with and use them.
Most importantly, do you back one another up in discipline?
This is the most damaging; a lack of support for one another, as you discipline your children. You're too busy arguing and need to focus on your kids in the moment of discipline. Further, don't do this in front of your children. Show them that you hold up one another even if you do not agree. You need to be a united front up against your children, who are smarter than all of us, and will use you two against one another. When this happens, the kids win and you're still arguing. Sigh!