Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. – Ephesians 6:4, NIV
As a kid, I quickly learned to defer to my mother for anything requiring permission, due to Dad’s response to anything being, “Go ask your mother.” As a result, one incident in particular left Dad and I engaged in a two week war. He made assumptions because he didn’t have all the information and I was exasperated and took offense.
How often do your children hear the response, “Go ask your mom” or “Go ask your dad”? Don’t get me wrong, my father generally supported my mother’s decisions. But, in time, dad got left out of the communication. I circumvented all things past him straight to Mom. It wasn’t intentional, deliberate, or deceitful. It had just become habit. When he did take an interest in what I was doing, he didn’t know how to relate to me, and I took offense. I see this happen more times than I care to think about amidst parents. Good parents. Parents who love their children and want what’s best for them. But parenting was meant to be teamwork, not relegated to one person.
To include dad in the parenting process, communicate with each other. Make sure you both know and agree on what you will or won’t allow the kids to do. This communication is more than a one-time informational meeting. It is continuous throughout the parenting years. Make sure you’re on the same team. There may be times that you may disagree. But when it is a seldom occurrence, children are secure knowing you will work it out, and it will also help reduce parent/child wars.
As a parent whose mate was frequently gone, we had lots of conversations about our daughter-anything that helped the other have insight to be a better parent. Undoubtedly she heard, “Ask your mom” and “Ask your dad” on a variety of occasions. But not often. And when there was war between she and I (it did happen), her dad was able to jump in and deescalate the situation. Because of our communication, he was able to do so in a way that was supportive to both myself and our daughter. It was a win-win! Communication is key!
How do you and your spouse communicate and share your parenting tasks?