Being a parent is difficult enough! Here we are, learning as we go, passing tips out when you eventually figure some of it out. But… what makes parenting a ton worse is when you as parents are not pulling in the same direction. In this post, we are going to take a look at what you can do when one parent undermines the other. The result is frustration, for both parents, and the kids!
Here is what you will learn in this post:
- Reasons why parents undermine each other
- 5 things you can do to stop it
When you have one parent constantly undermining the other, it can lead to some challenging situations. Situations like your child having a preference for one parent, or maybe they will begin to act out more for one over the other.
That is why you need to work together as a team.
5 Reasons Why One Parent Undermines The Other
When one parent undermines the other, the result is that it stays with your child for the rest of their lives. They may develop the same inconsistency, and they may also have problems with authority. These are two huge reasons why you need to stop this inconsistent parenting approach and tackle the problem on the same team.
Here are some of the most common reasons why parents undermine each other when it comes to discipline and requests.
Can’t Do Discipline
- I can’t tell them off.
- I don’t like telling them off.
These are 2 comments I have heard a lot. None of them make sense to me.
How can you be a parent if you are not willing to discipline your child? What kind of child do you expect to raise?
Wants To Be A Friend
This is probably the most common reason. One parent always undermines the other one because they want to be seen as more of a friend than a parent.
You can be a good friend to your child, by disciplining them correctly and bringing them up to be a good person. Rewarding your child for good behavior is much better than punishing them for bad behavior.
The other parent might just be easier for your child to exploit!
Kids are forever pushing buttons and boundaries to see what they can get away with. If you or the other parent is easily exploited, then you are going to be unwittingly undermining the other.
I love people watching. One of the things I have learned is that parents will undermine each other because they are too lazy to actually think about what they are doing.
This one time, I was at a cafe. I watched as a dad mindlessly scrolled through his phone. Mom was busy with a baby, and a child (probably about 6) asked for a bit of mom’s drink. Obviously (I am guessing it was coffee), mom said no. He went straight to dad. ‘Dad, can I have a bit of mom’s drink?’
Without hesitation, dad said yes. I am pretty sure he didn’t even listen to the question.
That is lazy parenting and totally undermines what mom has just said. Bad dad…
Insecurity is another reason why one parent is always undermining the other. One parent feels like they should not be giving any discipline, maybe because they think they are not good enough, or because they always make mistakes, they don’t want to pass that on.
This is probably the most challenging to fix. If you have identified this as a reason, you will need some long term work to get around these feelings.
5 Tips If One Parent Is Undermining The Other
First things first, stop arguing in front of your child. In fact, stop arguing full stop and start talking instead. I know it is easier said than done, but your child will respect both of you more, and will also learn that issues get resolved by talking, and not shouting.
Discuss The Ground Rules
Now that you no longer argue in front of your child (and that includes in another room, but still loud enough for them to hear), the next step is to set ground rules.
You need to talk about what is the acceptable discipline for your child. When you have agreed on this, agree that you will both rein your child in if they overstep the mark.
Discuss The Fallout Of Inconsistent Parenting
If you are giving inconsistent parenting, your child will not know what to expect in life. You need to remain consistent.
If you keep being inconsistent with your parenting, then you will raise a child with consistency issues. They will not know what to expect whenever they act out.
Consistency is key. I cannot emphasize that enough.
Improve Self Belief
The parent who is undermining the other should take some steps to improve self-belief.
One of my favorite techniques is to set achievable goals in life. Each time you achieve one, your self-confidence grows. Not only that, but your child will also have more confidence in your ability, which in turn raises your self-confidence!
It is like a huge snowball of self-confidence!
If your child acts out, pull in the other parent into the room so you can discipline them together. Your child will learn that you are attacking this problem on the same side.
Two parents together have much more control than two warring parents. If parents are at war, your child will 100% take advantage!
Frequently Asked Questions
What happens when one parent disciplines?
When one parent disciplines and the other doesn’t, it could lead to consistency issues in later life for and child who is affected by this. Not only that, but they could also grow up with authority issues. Also, in your relationship tensions will grow, and deep frustrated feelings will boil over, eventually leading to relationship issues.
Is it good to be a strict parent?
It is good to have a certain level of strictness, but the stricter you are, the worse it could affect your child as they grow. If you a strict enough to make all decisions for your child, they will grow up with a lack of confidence in their own decisions. Also, if you do not let them do anything in life, they will eventually rebel. Then, all hell will break loose!
How do you make up a bad parent?
First things first, you have to admit to your partner and your child that you have been a bad parent. Everyone is allowed to make mistakes in life, and your child will learn a lot more from you if you accept responsibility and set some steps to improve. That is a huge, important lesson that your child will learn.
When one parent undermines the other, it poses a difficult parenting situation that takes time and teamwork to resolve.
The key thing is that you start to work as a team as soon as you notice this happening. You cannot, and must not let it continue.
The longer it continues, the longer it will take to resolve.
So, grab the same team colors and deal with your children consistently. It is key to bringing up an awesome person!
When you are on the same team, you suddenly become a force that your child is not used to. Watch them suddenly fall into line… hopefully.