Most couples have experienced this situation at one time or another—you think you should discipline your child a certain way, and your spouse or co-parent wants to handle it differently. You each become entrenched in your position. And what started as a problem between you and your child quickly evolves into a problem between you and your spouse. You are no longer parenting as a team.

At some point, most couples will disagree and argue over how to discipline their children. After all, you and your spouse are different people who will naturally approach parenting differently at times—maybe more often than you’d like. Disagreement in any marriage is to be expected, especially over raising your kids.

For example, let’s say you believe your child should be punished harshly for missing curfew while your spouse doesn’t think a curfew is such a big deal. Or perhaps you disagree on how to handle bad grades, drinking, or an older child who is still living at home and not getting on with life. As a result, you react differently and aren’t on the same page when it comes to consequences.

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Here’s the truth: kids know when their parents aren’t unified in their decisions about discipline. And their lack of unity creates anxiety for these kids because they are unsure of the rules and what matters and what doesn’t. And this anxiety contributes to further behavior issues.

Or, and this happens frequently, kids learn to get off the hook for a behavior problem by playing one parent off the other. Kids figure out very quickly that when their parents are fighting with each other, the focus is no longer on them.

Kids also figure out that if they can get one parent to be an ally, then it’s now a two against one battle, and the child-parent team usually wins.

This is not the situation you want to be in with your spouse or your child. It’s why unity with your spouse, even if you disagree, is important in addressing your child’s behavior problems.

Unity is hard, but it is achievable. Following the guidelines below will help you ensure that parenting disagreements don’t destroy the unified front that your child needs to be accountable and to behave appropriately.

Parents Need to Back Each Other Up

Make it a rule that if one parent disciplines a child, the other parent must back it up, even if the other parent disagrees with the punishment. You and your spouse need to present yourselves as a unified team to your child, or it will undermine your authority as parents. Later, when things are calm, and you’re out of earshot of your child, you and your spouse can discuss alternate ways of handling things.

If you are not unified in front of your child, your child will learn that he can get around any parenting decision by playing one parent off the other. Or by looking for help from one parent when the other tries to discipline.

And understand that every time you argue with your spouse over parenting, the focus shifts away from where it should be—your child’s behavior. Therefore, keep the focus on your child whenever your child is present. And address disagreements with your spouse in private.

Note: If you feel that your spouse is physically or emotionally harming your child, then you need to say, “I can’t go along with this.” Then take the necessary steps to make sure your child is safe.

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Try to Defer to the One Who Feels More Strongly About an Issue

If you and your spouse disagree on an issue and you can’t seem to find a compromise, then try to defer to the parent who feels more strongly about it.

Let’s say, for example, that you’re okay with your 12-year-old going to a sleepover at a good friend’s house. Nevertheless, your spouse is opposed. Your spouse isn’t comfortable allowing your child to have that kind of independence. Or maybe your spouse doesn’t trust the other family. But if you are still adamant about your position, you might say:

“I feel so strongly about this. I’d like you to support me on this, even if you don’t see it the same way.”

Or:

“Can I ask you to go along with me on this one, even if you don’t agree? I can’t say that this is the best decision, but my gut is telling me to give it a try. Can you support me on this?”

If your spouse is the one who seems most adamant, try to accommodate his or her position.

Remember, the goal isn’t to get things your way one-hundred percent of the time. The goal is to parent your child effectively and, at the same time, maintain a healthy relationship with your spouse.

Empathize with Your Child, but Don’t Throw Your Spouse Under the Bus

If your spouse feels more strongly about something and you’ve decided to go along with their decision, you can say this to your child:

“I know it’s hard for you when we won’t let you go on a sleepover. I see it bothers you because you feel you are ready for this independence.”

You’re empathizing with your child’s feelings, but not breaking the unified stance. When you show empathy, your child also feels he’s understood and not so alone. Nevertheless, your child still must go along with the decision you’ve made with your spouse.

But don’t throw your spouse under the bus. In other words, don’t disparage your spouse in any way. And tell your child that this is a joint decision even if behind closed doors, you and your spouse don’t completely agree.

When Parents Fight, Kids Are off the Hook

Consider the following scenario:

When it’s time to do his homework, your son says he “hates math” and complains about his teacher.

Your husband yells at him and says that he needs to bring up his math grade.

Immediately, your child looks to you for help and, as if on cue, you jump in and say, “Leave him alone—he’s doing fine.”

Your husband replies, “If he were doing fine, he would have gotten a better grade.”

Now the fight is ramping up. You respond with, “You’re too strict—that’s why he’s like this. You’re too hard on him.”

Meanwhile, as the fight goes on, your child has his head buried in his phone and doesn’t do the homework he was supposed to do.

In the above scenario, the parents focus on each other rather than their child. And when this happens, the child isn’t held accountable for his behavior, and the unacceptable behavior continues.

And not only that, the fight between the parents raises the anxiety level in the house, which makes it more likely for your child to either act out or isolate himself.

In the end, your child’s behavior won’t change if you’re more focused on fighting your spouse than holding your child accountable for his behavior.

And understand that kids learn how to play one parent off the other, and many kids will manipulate the situation to their advantage. They know that they’re off the hook as long as you are fighting with your spouse.

Talk About Parenting Decisions When You Are Calm

Talk about parenting decisions when you are calm and can listen to one another’s perspective without being overly critical or attacking.

Calm makes it is easier for you to discuss things with respect. And respect helps you find common ground because respect makes it easier for you to understand each other.

If you are talking with your spouse and find that the conversation is getting more and more hostile, then take a time-out. Take a walk or go for a drive. When you come back later, set up a time to talk. You can say to your spouse:

“Let’s each spend a few minutes talking about this. I’m just going to listen to you, and I’m not going to say a word. I’m not going to interrupt you. Just let me hear why this one is so important to you because you don’t usually hold onto things so strongly.”

And keep in mind that hostility isn’t just yelling and fighting. Hostility can include sarcasm, dismissive comments, put-downs, subtle threats, and other forms of damaging communication. Don’t let your conversations escalate to this level—be mindful when it is happening and take a time-out.

Understand Your Spouse’s Family History

Perhaps it’s difficult for you to understand your spouse’s perspective on parenting because it’s so different from your own, and you end up feeling critical of his way of thinking.

I recommend that you get to know your spouse’s family history and how deeply those beliefs are rooted. It may help you to see things more objectively and less personally, and you will then be able to respond with less judgment. In the process, you will also better understand your own history and belief system.

Try to help each other to see that safety issues and cultural norms change over time. What might have worked back when your spouse was a kid might not make sense now. Or what worked in his family when he was growing up might be different than what will work in your family now.

Remember, this is your family, not your parents’ family. You and your spouse get to decide the rules in your family.

Listen to Your Spouse

It helps couples to give each other a few minutes to talk about why a certain issue is important. If you can each spend a few minutes just hearing the other person without reacting, then you give yourselves a chance to come to terms with each other. Just listen. And don’t interrupt. Try to understand your spouse’s point of view, and often, you’ll find common ground that you didn’t realize existed. You can say:

“What can we do to compromise?”

Or:

“I hear you. Now I understand why this is so important to you. I don’t feel as strongly, but I’ll support your decision.”

Most importantly, you will both know you’ve been heard. And as I mentioned earlier, if you do this when you are calm, it will be much easier to listen constructively.

When to Get Professional Help

If you feel like you’ve tried everything and you’re still not able to get on the same page with your spouse, you may need some professional help in the form of a therapist.

A good therapist will help you find ways to talk with each other productively. A good therapist will teach you how to stop fighting over every parenting issue that comes up. And that will help you be unified in your dealings with your child.

All of us have negative communication habits and patterns that we may not notice unless a neutral party, like a therapist, points it out to us. Negative communication patterns may include the following:

  • Negatively interpreting comments
  • Assigning motives to others that are more negative than is really the case
  • Withdrawal or avoidance
  • Invalidating or being dismissive of your spouse’s point-of-view

These communication patterns lead to escalating hostility. Indeed, what ought to be a normal conversation or a minor disagreement becomes a fight, but not because of the disagreement but because of how you communicate.

The good news is that when couples recognize these habits, they can improve their communication substantially, and the hostility subsides. In the ensuing calm, they can get on the same page or, at a minimum, find an amicable compromise.

Believe it or not, natural differences between spouses can be a source of strength. Differences can help us expand our perspectives and understand one another better. Just understand that differences are a strength only if we can communicate effectively, overlook minor offenses, and forgive one another.

The bottom line is that we all have different ways of communicating and different belief systems—and that’s fine. No two people will to come together with the same opinions and values one-hundred percent of the time.

The important thing is to come together so that your child is not pulled into the middle of your differences.

About

For more than 25 years, Debbie has offered compassionate and effective therapy and coaching, helping individuals, couples and parents to heal themselves and their relationships. Debbie is the creator of the Calm Parent AM & PM™ program (which is included in The Total Transformation® Online Package) and is also the author of numerous books for young people on interpersonal relations.

Comments (30)
  • Debbiekay14
    Lately over the past year or so it seems like me and my husband can not coparent well together, he blames me and says I baby the kids, and I say hes too angry and hateful when he tells the kids to do things. For instance, our 10 year oldMore daughter, when its her night to do dishes (by hand, our current rental doesnt have a dishwasher) my husband will look over the dishes the next morning and if he sees ANY food on any of the dishes he will then make her do dishes every night for a week. I don't feel that's fair, I mean shes only 10 not a teenager, and I feel like she's not gonna get them perfect. Then when it comes to our 13 yr old son, I feel like my husband is so hateful when he tells our son to do anything, and yes of course sometimes our son gets a smart mouth or attitude (he is 13) because he would rather be playing his game or anything else, and getting an attitude i know is wrong of him, but my husband will get so hateful and yell "who do you think your talking to homeboy" to OUR CHILD. Or my husband will come in to the room where I am, and say things about our son, knowing our son will hear it. I don't know what to do. How do I get him to coparent better? Every time I try to talk to him about it he says I'm just always blaming everything on him.
  • My kids come first.
    There's no way I'd back my husband up if he's punishing the kids (then talk to him later, the damage has been done by then!) & I don't agree with it. What a way to make your kids feel totally abandoned! He was brought up in a horrible family whoMore treat me, his wife and his kids awful and he never stands up for us when it comes to them so why should I stand up for him when it comes to raising our kids. I don't want them ending up like his family which is why I back my kids 100% over him any day. And let me make it clear if my kids are wrong then I will agree but he nags and nags over the smallest things, he NEVER listens to anyone hes a narcissist and I'm not letting him chip away at their confidence anymore than he already has!
  • The way you speak
    I'm struggling with my daughter, my husband says it's the way i "tell" "ask" her to do things I have tried doing it every way I can think of. I think it's her playing us... she feels if she responds in a way that gets me angry dad will hearMore and he doesn't like fighting and still stop it typically by telling ME to stop fighting and in the end it blows up and my daughter wins because I stop fighting because I don't like fighting with my husband. I don't feel anyone wins in that situation but fighting with him AND my daughter turns into her getting away with it AND me and my husband fighting... So she wins either way. I wish he would just support me and agree it doesn't matter how I say it she's doesn't want to do it and would fight me no matter HOW I said it.
  • LF321
    In our case, my husband never sides with me on anything and my daughter sees this.  She's older now and he pals around with her vying for her attention while I sit alone downstairs in complete disgust and feel powerless to do anything about it.  I've always encouraged my kidsMore to see their father as a good father but honestly I feel he has not reciprocated.   I know for a fact that I have been an excellent mother to my kids, always devoted to their needs before mine, staying home for many years to raise them right.  Now, I sense my daughter is not respecting me as she always has, questions my thinking, decision and more.  Meanwhile, she counts on my husband to carry her luggage up the stairs, to run errands for her if need be, to watch movies upstairs with her and now even sees him as a confident.  I know for a fact that he hasn't represented me well to my kids, now older (27 and 28).  I really don't know what to do at this point.  This last incident has seriously crippled me all week.  My bedroom is in disarray, I don't have the energy to do anything around the house, I've just stayed quiet while my husband has primarily stayed upstairs all week aside from work.  Our daughter is currently out of town until tomorrow and the thought of her entering my house at this point makes my chest hurt and I feel myself develop an anxiety that I can't get rid of for a while.
    • Flower85 OMD, LF321 I am in the same boat as you pretty much....just X 4 kids. I feel you and I too don't know what to do. I hate life every day as I have to deal with divide my husband has caused and the "clique" he is part of with our kids and me tossed to the side.
      I have gone absolutely insane at this point. My 4 kids are all grown in their 20's now from age 21 to 30. The two older kids aren't doing too bad, but the two younger ones are kind of a mess. Needless to say, I have beenMore with their dad for 35 years. I have been a stay at home mom and for the entire time, he has undermined me and made them their confidante and good guy while making me look like the bad guy and they disrespect me so much and always have. He never has the guts to side with me in front of them, discipline them in front of me, or defend me in front of them. He talks and texts with them all the time and they call him and text him and leave me out of so many conversations and decisions. I am so sick of it. Usually I stay away from all of them when they are around because my husband has done an excellent job of dividing this family to the point it is severely dysfunctional. I have told him many many times what he is doing is wrong, and all we do is fight about it. I am now at the point of silence. The two younger kids need help and money all the time because they keep making poor decisions and falling not their faces. I keep telling my husband that he has never allowed me to enforce rules and boundaries that he did not lift. He always sends the message to them that I am wrong and that he is their "rescue hero." That is what I call him. Run to Daddy time. Make Mommy look like crap and the stupid one...she knows nothing. He has successfully dethroned me as I call it. I have no authority, no value, nothing in this family. I Know, get a divorce right? It has never been what I wanted....and I thought that when they finally were all over the age of 18, things would get better...it hasn't. Getting a divorce is not always the answer when you still love your spouse. But he is a jerk when it comes to parenting....he has no clue what the heck he is doing and he is truly stupid in the task. He has defended me in front of them a few times knowing he should only to yell in my face after they left telling me "Look what you made me do, I get angry at them and do all that for you!" Such BS. He has no idea the damage he has caused this family because he never allowed me to be the disciplinarian while he has been away half the time with his traveling job. He has always had to be the guilty Daddy who was not home for whatever and now that Daddy is home I will give you what you want. This is a man who grew up poor, worked hard for what he succeed in and accomplished, but for some reason can't pass those values on to his own kids. No wonder the younger two are so screwed up and can't do anything for themselves. What is a woman to do in the position? I cry most of my days, and my life is wasting away. I told him that when grandkids come, he better shut up because I will not listen to a damn word he has to say.
  • KWood
    My situation is different as I am always the Bad Guy.My Wife had my Daughter (Step-18 yo) Boyfriend 21 move in because of His abusive "Home Life" as He stated.This was 99% behind my back as My Wife and Daughter always plan things this way sometimes speaking Spanish thinking IMore dont understand,which to me is Rude as Both are citizens because of Me,anyway we are NOT on the same page with Parenting this One Entitled Child as it has been 2 Months of Loafing and Mooching by Both and getting up at Noon,cooking there Breakfast etc and living off my generosity,I pay for everything except Food which often has "Legs" during the night while Im asleep.My Wife doesnt Cook,I cant remember when she made me a Hot Meal other than Spaghetti.Example.yesterday was friday and because of my Religious upbringing I dont eat Meat on Fridays,the Old Catholic Way and usually She will pickup Eggplant with Penne at a nearby Restaurant on Fridays.So she did and there was No Penne,the Owner must have forgot,big deal so I asked Her what happened to the leftover Spaghetti she cooked the day before as I would improvise.Her comeback was "Mary and John have to eat as well" Interesting as I never had any,instead I ate week old Spaghetti so it wouldnt go bad and never had a Bite.So you can see where her priority is and its not me but the welfare of the Two Entitled Individuals she allowed to Mooch off me.Neither work by the way of you call 12 Hours a week "work" BUT all of a sudden my Wife,who Scrubs Toilets for other people and makes a ton of non taxed Cash doing it has now taken up working until 2-3 pm and now every Saturday,she doesnt and never needed to Work as Ive given her everything but she started this Cleaning Company and all Her Employees are Her Family Members,All 5 of them.No WC,No Taxes all Cash so you would think after being Married 12 years that She would offer to assist?Nope.Thats OK,I can afford it as I was always a hard worker and a saver and an excellent Investor.Now ecause Im Tiredof these Two Mooches and its obvious she wont Kiss Me Goodnight,Boo Hoo.She is as sexy as I dont know what and now is always,I mean always on the Cell Phone from talking to texting right up until Bedtime.Either she is messing around (not the first time)or fins My Company "Boring" well its sort of the other way around as she doesnt understand half of what I say and doesnt listen to the other half.So its 7:15 AM Saturday AM and here I am writing my heart out (which I feel is healthy)as there is never anyone on my Level to talk to and hold a Conversation.So,to have Both Parents on the same Page,not here in this Home as One runs away all the time and the other is always the Mean One as he has Rules and doesnt Sugar Coat anything.Ive learned something in these past 2 Months and that is that her Daughter is her Priority and She is responsible for making her who she is.This Child has Traveled all over and always got what she needed because I looked out for Her,now at 18 I truly cannot stand Her Company knowing how she hates me,the one who paid for her college tuition starting when her mother and i got Married 12 years go when she was 6.I have no regrets but I am disappointed  in the Family behavior now that Mom and Daughter are "Buddies".....Birds of a feather!
  • ehj
    This is sort of disappointing. Most people don't have the luxury of "taking a time out". And the blurb about whether or not something is emotionally detrimental to a child pretty much smashes the goodness of the stand by your spouse virtue as for one, most men and women willMore disagree on the proper emotion.
  • 7InTheNest
    Our biggest issue is that we have a special needs child but husband has not accepted this and disciplines him for behavior that professionals and I believe is beyond his control at this point in time, mainly sensory meltdowns. It is hard to find any compromises between us and IMore feel husband's punitive approach it is negatively affecting our child and is a stumbling block to the his progress. Husband refuses counseling and this issue is a major source of stress for me. I just don't know where to go from here!
    • KWood
      7InTheNest Hi,I feel for You,it must be tough but You have to think of your own well being.Go to Counseling without Him and express your feelings.There are online Groups im sure with Parents who have the same Child Issues and can support You.Im a Special Needs Husband as Im TotallyMore Disabled from being a Law Enforcement Officer and got injured bad on the job.I see how my family treats me such as never asking "Is there something I can do for You" instead its always "What can you do for Us?" So Im immune to it.I have no blood children as i spent my Career working in a State Prison instead.You need someone to "vent" to and a Support Group with children with the same Disabilities would be great,I belong to several Spinal Disorders groups as well as Traumatic Brain Injury Groups and it has helped alot,good Luck!
  • eslasalle
    My issue is alittle different. My wife gets upset whenever she is disciplining one or all of our children and I jump in to support. .she feels that I undermine her when all im trying to do is support her but apparently it backfires on me and IMore dont know what to do as this really hurts me.. I thought parents were supposed to work together.
    • KWood
      eslasalle Hi,Support your Wife or the children?if its your Wife than step back and let her do her thing,she has opted to be the One Single "Bad Guy" so maybe she is protecting You who knows but if your supporting the Kids thats no good.Reading your post again I seeMore it is the Wife who doesnt want your 2 cents when she is cracking the whip,let her do it as it must give her a "High",just Love all of them and dont change your ways,the Kids are obvious to this and your Wife oblivious.She may save you from a Stroke!LOL
  • Count2123
    I have been with my partner for 22years. He has never been very good at making any form of commitment / desiction making ( hence why we're not married) although he will often speak the lingo (dangle to carrot) calling me his wife and often referring in conversation 'when wereMore married'. The problem I have is that since having our child he is now doing it with my son which makes it incredible difficult to get a consistent routine. For example before having our son we agreed on as parents that we would sit down as a family to eat our meal together. He continuously arrives late and then gets up / down from the table to either put eye drops in or something that can wait until after dinner! He is only upstairs so I really don't understand why it's a problem. The problem i also have is that he will not deal with any of the tantrums or bad behavour - so I'm continuously the bad guy. If I'm in the kitchen I can hear them disagreeing or my son may of answered him back he will not tell him or threaten a time out should his behavour continue. I was also told by his parent that when they were out with our son they said to him that he couldn't have an icecream and that it was because mummy said he's not allowed even though I wasn't there. I did ask them not to use me in that way and that they needed to give there own views at that time. I do allow my son to have icecream although I wouldn't let him just before lunch which is when he had asked for it. I feel I'm banging my head against a brick wall, when I refer back to what we had agreed he will agree and apologies to make more if an effort but will never full fill his promises to both me and my son. I feel I'm starting to loose my patience with my partner and I'm not sure how to make this situation better for my sons upbringing as he's my sons becoming aware of my partners false promises.
  • Aa
    Great article... My husband and i have recently hit a road block regarding disciplining our two and a half year old son. These suggestions really help provide the tools to getting back on the same page.
  • barbm123
    What is the harm for letting one of the grannies be a little 'over the top'? Your mom interacts with her grand daughter in one way and his mom makes an emotional connection in another. Throughout your parenting life you and your husband will have many different view points thatMore you need to consolidate to effectively parent your child.  Don't let a small thing like occasional meal time with granny get in the way of the peace of your home, there are much more challenging issues to be faced in the years ahead.  In this situation, it isn't a matter of right or wrong!  It is a matter of how each of you connects emotionally with your child.  As unique and distinct personalities, each of us will take a different approach. Be selective in 'picking your battles' or you will be battling all the time.  In time, your daughter will set her own limits with the granny who wants to feed her and demand the independence of 'doing it myself, gramma'.
  • Mzconfused15
    My problem is my mom and his,mom . my daughter is 2 years old she can feed her self and she can drink by herself . his mom thinks she needs to feed her and we fight over it because he says shes just being a grandma but my momMore dont feed her ? Im the bad guy because im not allowibg her to interact with my child. But i feel thats my duty and hes not backing me up. There are other ways to interact feeding my kid is more phyiscal then it is interacting am i wrong???? Need advice
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

      @Mzconfused15

      No, you’re not wrong. As the parent, you can set limits

      around how people interact with your daughter.  Unfortunately, it’s pretty

      common for grandparents and parents to disagree about how things should be

      done. We have a couple articles about how to handle this tough situation that

      you may find helpful: https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/grandparents-and-parents-disagreeing-11-tips-for-both-of-you/ & https://www.empoweringparents.com/blog/grandparents-relatives-undermining-parents/ I hope you find the

      information in these articles helpful. Be sure to check back if you have any

      further questions. Take care.

  • barbm123
    @Sad Dad I think your first obligation is to your son. If he has an excessive absentee rate while at his mothers, it would seem to me that might give you some legal options to limit the amount of time spent with mom. I'd check with an attorney and seeMore if you can obtain full legal custody of your son. At 14 his acting out will only escalate from here (my daughter is now 18 so I've recenly lived through this age range).  If his mom is suffereing with acute depressions she really needs to focus on her own healing and you could be providing both your son and your ex with breathing room and your son with positive and effective boundaries.
  • barbm123
    My problem is with my mom. She feels so sorry for my daughter at times that she lets her empathy for my child overpower her good judgement and more than occasionally undermines my authority. My mom has her own home and doesn't live with us but remains in frequent telephoneMore contact with my teenager daughter. My daughter is now 18 so she is legally responsible for her own actions but I feel a moral obligation for her to live at home. She doesn't comply with 'house rules' about allowing kids that are unknown to me enter our home in the very late night hours after I've gone to bed. I wake up the next mornng to find 2 or even 3 kids that I don't know occupying my living room couches. It got so bad I had to install a lock on my bedroom door to provide myself with minimal security. Since then I've let everyone of these 'drop ins' know that the next time I won't give warnings I will just call the police and have them charged with trespass and any other charge the police officers recommend. One young lady wrote obscenities on my daughters freshly painted bedroom woodwork and she has been banned from our property and I backed that up in writing to her parents. My daughter is beyond disrespectful to downright obnoxious to me, calling me names and being verbally abusive to me, damaging property (a living room coffee table most recently) and refusing to comply with the simplest of requests (please take out the trash before you leave). Yet she still demands money for fast food or entertainment purposes and frequently demands that I also provide food and prepare meals for her and some of her friends. She has a court date coming up for a battery charge she has pending (incurred as a minor) and I'm hoping the court will let her know verbally how threatening her behavior has become. I love my daughter but I don't recognize this kid as the loving, talented and very capable kid I raised. Her diagnosis is 'oppositional defiant disorder' and I fear it will cause her a lifetime of pain and suffering. She has quit school and has applied for a job at McD's but still isn't working, so she sleeps til 1 or 2, showers and dresses and then leaves for hours and sometimes doesn't come home at night or if she does, arrives in the very early morning hours. She smokes pot but I don't permit it in our home and threaten to call the police if I even smell what I believe may be marijuana, I don't believe she drinks alcoholic beverages other than an occasional beer. In our state she must be 21 to drink legally.  My mom takes her to lunch occasionally and then listens to my daughter bash my parenting for an hour. I then get an irate phone call from mom telling me that I'm being too hard on her. Really? I am out of options. She has seen numerous therapists and was in residential treatment for 8 months earlier this year for exactly the behavior she exhibits now. They had to release her shortly after her 18th birthday due to the age limitations in the facility. I simply don't know what else to do to help her and restore sanity to our home. My husband is deceased so there is no 'father figure' available.  I am at my wits end.
    • Smiler

      Hey barbm123, my heart goes out to you. It sounds to me that you are doing everything right. But it must be really hard when your Mum panders to your daughter's every need. I'd find that very annoying, and as if your Mum is undermining your parenting.

      I think that your daughter is being very disrespectful to your house rules. I know when I was 18, although I was still in school, I felt that I was now an adult, so could do what I wanted.m but quite rightly, my parents told me that while I was living in their house, I had to abide by their house rules.

      Now, 30 odd years later, I can see their point, but at the time, I was an obnoxious 18 year old.

      I think that you should stick to your guns, hard though it is. Might there be a family friend who your daughter gets on well with, who could have regular chats with her and you, kind of like a liaison person between you? This might help compromises to be reached.

      I'm having a challenging time with my teenage daughter just now, but that's another story, and she's only thirteen.

      All the best barbm123. You'll be in my prayers xo

      • barbm123

        @Smiler Thank you so much for your kind response. My mom is 80+ and this is her only grandchild. She dotes on my daughter and yes does pander to my daughters demands My last hope is her court date next week, I'm hoping the judge will lay it on very thick about my daughters behavior. She was charged with assaulting a peace officer just days before her 18th birthday while AWOL from her residential treatment facility. I wasn't there, I found out about this when the facility called me less than an hour after it happened. Because she was a minor at the time, I have to go to court with her. Mom, of course, is opting out of the negative stuff because, as she put it, 'can't handle it'. I wish we had a family friend that my daughter could connect with. Due to her diagnosis of 'oppositional defiant disorder' she has little trust for most adults. I, too,lived in my parents home while in college and I understood that 'their house, their rules' applied as long as I wanted to remain at home. My daughter doesn't comprehend this . She is so bright and intelligent, so  full of potential that it breaks my heart to see her waste what God has given her. Some people mature later in life, so I'm still hopeful that something will turn her around, 

        Thank you again, for your kind reply, I also appreciate your prayers, I trust fully in God's grace, but living through this is very challenging, it's comforting to know that you and others care.

        • MichelleGershman

          I've never posted in one of these blogs and I'm not even sure how I found this blog but I feel I have to respond. I was a horrible 18 year old to my mother. I was the daughter she always wanted until I turned 14. I got into the wrong crowd and just went downhill. I was so bad that it hurts my heart to even mention what I did and said. I ended up becoming addicted to drugs at 19 and my mom couldn't do anything because she developed chronic migraines. I didn't really speak to my mom for about 6 years. I got clean, one year later, became pregnant and when my son was two, my husband convinced me to talk to my mom again. I was so apprehensive but I did. I didn't know how to feel, my mom quickly bonded with my kids but it was so hard for me to hug her or be close to her because I had been so horrible to her. It all came from one horrible person who manipulated me in high school, I take responsibility for my actions but if not for her, I would have never treated my mom so bad.

          Anyway, my mom quickly bonded with my two babies and I'm 31 now and I still have a hard time communicating with her and hugging her goodbye and telling her i love her but I can tell you that she never gave up on me and she loved me at my absolute worst and she is the best damn mom and grandmother I could ask for. You are doing a great job and I feel like this is an awful phase but if you can stick it out she will apprieciate you for it and know that she is valuable because you had her back at her absolute worst. I'm a late bloomer. I went from being addicted to meth and not giving a shit about my self to becoming a registered nurse. I graduate in May 2017. I will never be able to take back those years but I'm not going to spend another day not loving my mother.

          She will come around, just remind her that there is nothing she can do that will ever make you stop loving her. She won't listen now but she will remember your words later. Good luck.

        • FellowMom
          barbm123 I'm sorry that you are going through this situation and I am empathetic.  You have done absolutely everything you could in this situation - including the very heartbreaking but loving decision to place your daughter in residential treatment.  What your mother doesn't understand (but you do) is that yourMore daughter's brain works differently - oppositional defiant disorder is a mental health diagnosis that has nothing to do with parenting.  That said, it is not not easy to live with.  You are doing what you can and I hope somehow that she will come to realize it and learn coping skills to deal with the diagnosis.
  • Thepackmom
    My husband and I have been married for 4 years and he is the Stepfather to my 13 year old son who has ADHD.  Our family relationship is very good and we agree on most discipline issues.  However, I do not agree with how my husband "shuts down" or respondsMore with a negative attitude toward my son when he acts in a way my husband does not agree with.  This is a consistent pattern that I am struggling with, especially when it comes to setting an example for our son.   I am doing my best to keep in mind that parenting is new for him, however, this reaction is not working in his favor, especially as a stepdad.  I appreciate any suggestions.
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

      Thepackmom

      I can hear how much your husband’s behavior is bothering

      you. It can be tough to watch someone you love be treated in a way you consider

      unfair. It might be helpful to talk with your husband about your concerns

      during a time when your son isn’t present. It’s possible he may not be aware of

      the impact his response is having on you and your son. You might also consider

      enlisting the support of a neutral third party, like a marriage or family

      counselor. Many parents and stepparents

      have found this to be a productive way of managing differences and getting on

      the same page. We appreciate you writing in and wish you the best of luck

      moving forward. Take care.

  • Irene_R
    I don't know what to do anymore, this is the first time i say this to someone, its very difficult to admit that i am very emotionally broken, we are having this issue with my oldest son, he is autistic and i feel one way about disciplining him and myMore husband of 7 yrs feels another. I know in some ways i am wrong and i am willing to sit and talk, but my husband will yell, curse, verbally hurt me, and then leave, how am i supposed to hold my marriage together, my family as one. Like i said, in some ways i am in the wrong, but at the end of the day i am the one who is crying, and on my knees begging my husband not to leave. Where do i go from here?
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

      Irene_R

      I am so sorry you are facing these challenges. It is an

      unfortunate truth that kids can cause issues in a marriage. This seems to be

      especially true when your child has special needs. It may be helpful to find

      someone in your local area you can talk to about the issues you are facing. The

      211 Helpline would be able to give you information on support groups and

      counselors in your area. You can reach the Helpline 24 hours a day by calling

      1-800-273-6222 or by going online to http://www.211.org/.

      Many parents have found respite in being able to talk directly with people who

      can understand what they are going through and can offer some guidance on what

      they can do to work through the challenges they are facing. Best of luck to you

      and your family moving forward. Take care.

  • Unhappy married
    I think we're almost the same situation here and how sad it's happening in your life that we never expected when we became a parent now. Sometimes I wanna run away but I couldn't because I love my son so much no matter. I couldn't turn back the timeMore but to face the reality in my life. I felt no support from my husband he only provoking me and interrupted me when I discipline my 8 years old son. So now my son doesn't listen and respect to me. Please help me and give me advice it felt like I am choking now.
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

      Unhappy married

      It can make it more challenging to parent effectively when

      both parents aren’t on the same page. It may be helpful to know that it’s

      actually more common for parents to disagree than it is for them to always be

      in agreement about how to address behaviors they are seeing, so, you’re not

      alone in dealing with this frustration. It may be helpful to sit down with your

      husband at a calm time when your son isn’t present to discuss the expectations

      you each have as far as your son’s behavior. You might even come up with a list

      of possible consequences that could be implemented when house rules are broken.

      You want to take it slowly and focus on one acting out behavior at a time. This

      will help keep everyone on task and lessen the chance of anyone feeling

      overwhelmed. Some people find it helpful to involve a neutral third party, such

      as a marriage or family counselor. The 211 helpline could give you information

      on available resources in your area should you decide this would be beneficial.

      You can reach the Helpline 24 hours a day by calling 1-800-273-6222. In the

      meantime, you may want to read this article by James Lehman for more tips for

      getting on the same page as your spouse - Differences in Parenting? How Your Child May Be Using it Against You. Good luck to you

      and your family moving forward. Take care.

  • Char

    I have been in the same exact situation you are in for the past 30 years. It hasn't gotten any better. My husband still says the same thing to me I don't need back up and they don't listen to me because they don't respect me.

    This has made for a VERY unhappy marriage. I hope you have gotten help and it has stuck and your husband is now backing you up

    PLEASE let us know how you are doing.

    Char

  • Erneka

    I have been when my boyfriend for five years now. We don't have children but we discuss the idea of having children and the way we will raise them often. Every time we talk about this we always end up in a disagreement ! He has a total different mindsetMore on how he thinks children should be raised/disciplined and what rules should be set. Its so annoying and makes me upset every time we have these conversations. I'm starting to wonder.. Maybe we shouldn't have children together because we are not compatible.

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