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Us Against Them.

Note: This post is part of Fatherhood Friday at Dad Blogs, where all the cool kids are hanging out. (Moms are welcome over there!) Welcome to my visitors from DB; thanks for stopping in!

Parents have to work as a team. It should be a natural thing; after all, you start out as a team before the kids come along, right? For many people, the arrival of children decimates the marital team or, much worse, creates different teams that pit a parent and a child against the other parent.

Thank goodness, Jim and I have always, without fail, been on the same team. We adamantly adhere to the Bill Cosby Method of “Us against Them”. Besides the obvious fact that our kids *will* indeed leave this house someday to be on their own and it will be just the two of us again, there is that matter of diligently working on the creation of fine young adults. We accepted that challenge when we decided to have children and, believe me (especially this week), it is truly a challenge sometimes.

But as I mentioned, what never, ever wavers is that Jim and I are on the same team. More importantly, our kids know that. We have taught them to NEVER, EVER play one of us against the other. If Mom says “no”, don’t go to Dad…and vice versa. They each tried it–ONCE–and then learned that there was hell to pay so that little idea left their arsenals for good.

If Jim and I disagree about a kid issue (which, honestly, is not often! it’s so nice.), we don’t discuss our differences or lobby for what we want in front of the child in question. That only shows holes in our armor. We discuss privately, come to an agreement, and then present our decision as a united front.

My kids don’t know how lucky they are. I’m sure they don’t feel lucky at times, but they’ll appreciate how we parented by the time they bring their own kids into this crazy world (I hope). Getting back to that part about it just being the two of us again someday? All this teamwork is going to make that phase of our life lots more enjoyable, too.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • JonnyTam13 May 29, 2009, 11:54 am

    Any tips on how to get on the same page? We’re not even remotely close to the stage where she can manipulate only one of us (are we?), but I have a feeling it’s going to happen. Especially since I’ve had plans to be an overprotective father for YEARS if I had a daughter, which are completely contradictory to my wife’s plans.

  • Melisa with one S May 29, 2009, 12:50 pm

    Hey JonnyTam! Happy FF to ya! Tips? The best thing ever is that at this point you “have a feeling it’s going to happen”. Know what that means? You are in charge: you can totally stop it from happening. I would recommend, since your little (and ADORABLE!) one is, well, still little, you and your wife should really, really have some hard discussions about this topic. Making the commitment to being on the same page makes you each accountable to the other one. Manipulations start as early as the toddler years, so you don’t have as long as you think you do (those sneaky buggers learn early!). While you’re putting your teamwork in action, if you remember NOTHING ELSE, remember this: Good, consistent parenting is HARD. It’s NOT fun all the time. You have to keep your “eyes on the prize”, the prize being a daughter who can still be Daddy’s Little Girl even after Daddy (and Mommy) have set solid boundaries and expectations. So, talk now, reap rewards all along the way! 🙂

    (God, I sound like a talk show host.)

  • WeaselMomma May 29, 2009, 1:11 pm

    No wonder we get along so well. We live by the same rules.

  • Jason May 29, 2009, 1:45 pm

    Number 1 tried to play us against each other just the other night. Backfired big time :).

  • Andrew's Daddies May 29, 2009, 1:54 pm

    My partner and I are on the same team. This can not be broken..but I do find it is us against the grandma on getting on the same page.

  • Mocha Dad May 29, 2009, 2:05 pm

    Parents must be on the same page because children can sense the smallest crack in your defenses and will exploit it.

  • Melisa with one S May 29, 2009, 2:36 pm

    Weaselmomma: Totally agree.

    Jason: Good for you! 🙂 You almost want to congratulate them for becoming so cunning, but at the same time it feels so good to “fix their little red wagon”, don’t you think?

    Andrew’s Daddies: Ugh. Grandmas. That’s probably a whole other post!! At least the two of you stand united. 🙂

    Mocha Dad: Absolutely!! They can step over any kind of mess without “seeing” it, but can see when the parents don’t have it all together. It’s an amazing skill.

  • Otter Thomas May 29, 2009, 2:44 pm

    I agree with your philosophy 100%. I hope we can execute that plan as well as you have.

  • Gunfighter May 29, 2009, 5:46 pm

    We have always been on the same page in our house!

  • Mr. Man May 29, 2009, 11:34 pm

    It takes a lot of discipline to work that closely as a team. We mostly do the same, but I know we can still improve in this area.

  • Michelle May 30, 2009, 1:12 am

    Ahhh… yep. Being on the same page is just not an option if you want to have a happy and well-adjusted child (though even that isn’t a guarantee!) 😉 My husband and I had lots of conversations about that before we got married and before we had kids. Thankfully! I can’t imagine what it would be like had we not done that.

    Although I AM rather intrigued to hear what they did this week….

  • PJ Mullen May 30, 2009, 3:39 pm

    Our little man isn’t yet a manipulative force, but my wife and I have discussed at length how we need to stick together. Fortunately we think enough alike on most things that I’m sure we’ll be able to stick to it.

  • Sue May 30, 2009, 6:29 pm

    May have to print this out for my sister-in-law/brother-in-law!

  • surprised mom May 31, 2009, 6:16 am

    Being on the same page is the golden rule for The Mister and me in our house. I wish all parents would follow your advice (even if you do sound like a talk show host LOL). You are right being an effective parent and making the hard, unpopular decisions is NOT the fun part of being a parent.

  • Tom May 31, 2009, 3:19 pm

    Our biggest problem in that department is the little incidentals. Michael will have asked if he can have more TV time and I say no, then he asks mom who isn’t aware of my answer – and she says yes. As much as possible, though, we endeavor to keep our answers the same.

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