Parenting: Disciplinarian or Loving Listener?

Parenting: Disciplinarian or Loving Listener?

Rachel Allison

My husband and I have totally different parenting styles. I have often wondered how I ended up being the strict disciplinarian.  He on the other hand had an open-door policy with our children.  Any time a discussion or heart to heart conversation was needed he was available. Uhhh…I think somehow we got our roles reversed.  And sometimes I was a bit frustrated by it.

My role as the strict disciplinarian:

  • Chores and household duties were expected.  We worked together, and all had responsibilities that helped the home and family run well.
  • No television during the school week.
  • Homework was finished before extracurricular activities and friends.
  • Curfews were in place during their teenage years.
  • We went to church together as a family. If my teenage children were tempted to sleep during church I would remind them that their curfew the following Saturday night would be 30 minutes earlier so they could get their needed sleep.  They stayed awake because they knew I would not forget to carry out the promise.
  • If there was fighting between siblings, they knew that extra chores would be given. My policy was,  “If you have the energy to fight you have the energy to work.”  The result?  Arguments were settled quickly, and Mom rarely had to get involved.
  • My children knew the importance of being loyal to their siblings.  We discussed it, and they knew the consequences if they were not.
  • We had LOTS of family discussion. We discussed the rules of our family.  They didn’t always like them, but they understood why they were in place.

My husband’s role as the kind and loving mediator: ( grrrrrr… 🙂 )

  • He drove them to school everyday and they laughed and talked freely.
  • He interviewed them monthly or more if needed.  The conversations were never hurried.  The children looked forward to those interviews and discussions.
  • When I was too strict, the children would go to their father.  He and I would privately discuss their issues, and sometimes, I admit, the rules needed to be changed.
  • My husband was a listener.
  • My husband did not judge our children.  They knew his love was unconditional.
  • Etc. Etc. Etc.

Do you see why there were times I wanted HIS role…and I wanted him to have MINE.  But, I was the one who was with our children in the home.  I saw what needed to be done on a daily basis to keep the home and family running smoothly and progressing. It worked for our family.

My husband and I are the first to admit that if we had both been like me, our children would have been messed up. And if we had both been like him, they would have been messed up.  Those seem like strong statements, but we feel that our combination was a good balance to teach our children responsibility, loyalty, compassion and love.

I am happy to say that since our children are now adults I share my husband’s role…and I love it!

  • Anastasia
    Posted at 16:09h, 02 October

    I think that you fulfilled your role quite well. As any couple should strive to be, you were the Yin to your husband’s Yang…each role is a very important part of adequate parenting. The very fact that you each recognized that changes were sometimes necessary, and that rules are only good when fair/reasonable makes your family superior (in my opinion) to those parents who take no part in their children’s lives. Like the Lady and Lord, you created a balance in your home that is sadly lacking in many households.

    One question though;
    You mentioned “interviews” given on a monthly basis to your offspring. What does this mean, and what purpose did it serve?

  • Rachel
    Posted at 05:15h, 04 October

    My husband would ask them about school, friends, concerns, goals etc. He would write down their responses. Over the years these records have become priceless. By interviewing our children he could understand how to help them work through situations that they struggled with. Or he would follow up on goals they had made. Sometimes these “interviews” took place while they were driving to/from gymnastics or violin lessons. He said that often the kids were more willing to talk as they drove, and if they were in the middle of a good conversation, they finished visiting while parked in our garage. May I add that my children will talk to their father about anything and everything. They trust him totally! He’s a good dad.

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