Skip to main content

Parenting 101 – United We Stand

One of the most challenging things in our marriage was learning to raise responsible, caring, well-adjusted children. Now that our children are adults, we are back to child-rearing mode with our two year old granddaughter who lives with us.  Here are 6 lessons we’ve learned.

Paul: Unity - Stephanie and I sometimes see things differently. But the key is not allowing those differences to surface in front of the children. When I disagree with Steph’s reaction to our granddaughter’ behavior, I back her up 100%. I wait to discuss alternatives in private later.

Steph: Consistency – When our children were very young, we discussed what values/behaviors were important to us such as: being respectful, no hitting, being kind, responding to people who ask you questions. Then, we worked at being consistent in following through when our children misbehaved. Focusing on a few behaviors that are important to us increases the likelihood of success.

Paul: Mutual Respect – We say “please” and “thank you” to our granddaughter and expect her to use these courtesies with us. When she forgets, we gently remind her. We use a patient tone of voice as if we’re asking for the first time. Consistently showing respect to her and insisting on this common courtesy creates a kinder environment in our home.

Steph: Reasonable – What we ask of our children and the discipline we impose for inappropriate behavior both need to be reasonable. We can’t insist that a 2 year old respond to every question asked of her by an adult, but we can certainly expect this when she is 12. Likewise, corrective discipline is going to look different depending on the age and emotional maturity of children. 

Paul: Short List – As Steph mentioned, we did not insist on a laundry list of unacceptable behaviors from our children. We kept the list short, focusing on 3-5 things most important to us. Otherwise, it becomes impossible for a child to comply with our ever increasing list of do’s and don’ts.

Steph: Positive Reinforcement - it is important to take the time to praise our children when they are doing something good. This requires intentionality. We tried a number of things over the years to positively reinforce good behavior - giving verbal praise, showing physical affection, and giving weekly rewards for accumulated “good behavior points.” We also posted our “ Our Family Commandments” on our refrigerator. Parenting children is one of life’s greatest challenges, but when we work together our marriage and our children can not only survive, but thrive!


Popular posts from this blog

Great Sex!

Sex between a married couple is not only good, it’s very good. If you read the research and surveys, you will find that married couples experience better and more frequent sex than non-married couples. Married couples are healthier, happier, and live longer. When we went on a WorldWide Marriage Encounter weekend, we were more than a little surprised when a priest told us that our love-making is good, is important for us, and is important to the world. He encouraged us to “make mad passionate love!”
    So, why has married sex become something else? Society and media portray sex for married couples as dull and lifeless, a tool used to manipulate, something to joke about, and something that - beyond the newlywed phase- gradually drifts away. We’ve been sold this bill of goods, and we often buy into it! What we really crave in our sex life is to give and receive something powerful- to experience the depths of our passion and love for each other, to be as intimate as possible. Our freq…

Advice From a Divorce Lawyer

Yes, this is a strange twist.  We recently heard about James J Sexton's book, "If You're in My Office, It's Already Too Late."  James is a divorce attorney from New York, who started noticing some patterns after 20 years of working with couples whose marriages were ending.

Marriage Manners Matter

"Fine!" and "Whatever!" These 2 powerful words have the incredible potential to bring nearly any discussion to a screeching halt.  They send the insensitive message of "I don't care. Discussion over.  Period. Full stop!"   As married couples, we have probably used these or similar words.  And, if we have raised children we have probably employed time out, taken the car keys or other forms of discipline.

Those 2 little words are not  the focus of this blog.

Sex on Days Ending in 'Y'

Lovemaking is one of the most important aspects of a healthy marriage.  Yet there are so many impediments and inhibitions to making love once those wonderful Honeymoon years are over.

Tone of Voice

Something that we’ve become increasingly aware of in our marriage is how our tone of voice so significantly affects our communication – for better or for worse! It is remarkable how something so seemingly small can make such a huge impact on whether our communication is healthy, productive, and enriching or debilitating, disheartening, and provocative. Believe it or not, tone of voice is huge. WE would go as far as to say tone of voice is at the root of most of the small hurts we experience in our relationship.
Perhaps it would be easier to make our case using an example. Recently, we were trying to get out of the house to go to church and be on time. I (Stephanie) have to admit I am typically the one who is running behind trying to get one last thing put away or rushing because I did not plan my time well. Paul will often playfully turn the hall light on and off letting me know he is by the door ready and waiting. Usually I will laugh it off and tell him I am coming. This particular…