One of the most important things we can do as parents, is work together as a team! Our kids need to know that Mom and Dad respect each other, and are going to stand together on decisions. It is important that you are purposefully building your child’s respect for your spouse.
We didn’t allow our kids to play us against each other. If they asked one of us if they could do something and we told them no, they were not allowed to go and ask the other parent. If they DID, they got in trouble when they were caught.
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Why is this a big deal? Because we want our kids to respect both parents, and not favor the one who lets them do more of what they want to.
Often, without meaning to, we do or say things that actually begin to allow seeds of disrespect to grow in our kids towards our spouse. The problem with that is we are REALLY undermining our own authority, and the kids will also come to disrespect us.
For example, if your kids come and ask you if they can do something that they know your spouse doesn’t approve of, you have a choice. You can support your spouse and say “No, Dad and I have agreed to keep the same rules, and this is a rule that is a NO.”
The other choice would be to say, “Well, I guess you can, but don’t let Dad know!”
When you do that however, you are undermining your own authority. You are teaching your kids that rules only need to be obeyed when you AGREE with them. It’s saying to them that you don’t respect your spouse and their decisions.
What are some ways you can BUILD your kids’ respect for your spouse?
1. NEVER let your kids hear you speak critically of your spouse.
If you disagree with his parenting methods or you disagree with him in some area, talk to him about it PRIVATELY.
2. Speak good about your spouse regularly.
Let your kids hear you say how glad you are that you married your spouse, and how much you love him. Talk about the things you respect about him. Mention how much he loves you and the kids, and how he works hard to provide for all of you, etc.
3. Speak to your spouse RESPECTFULLY.
There are going to be times when you disagree with your spouse, or are not pleased with something they have done or said. Your goal should be to respond in a respectful way.
Your kids are watching and listening ALL the time, and need to see respect demonstrated in your relationship.
4. Don’t disagree about things in front of the kids.
Handle your disagreements in private. Your kids need to see the two of you as a united front. This gives them security, and helps them respect both of you more.
Don’t take this wrong – there are probably going to be occasional times that you disagree about minor things in front of the kids, and you talk through them, and reach a compromise. However it should be done in a respectful way that shows your kids how to work through differences in opinions in a kind, respectful way.
5. Watch your body language.
Again, your kids are WATCHING. Even if you don’t SAY something disrespectful, be sure you don’t show disrespect by rolling of the eyes, or other actions. Actions speak louder than words.
Determine to stand together with your spouse and give him the respect he deserves, and in the process your kids will grow in respect for your spouse!