Parenting can be one of the most blissful or challenging issues we face. The balance of juggling responsibilities, decisions, and emotions can sometimes be one of the most difficult tasks in life. The outcome of making decisions for our children today might be absent for years.
One common challenge is when the parents allow the children to divide them. In healthy families, parents are at the pinnacle of the family. They are in charge and are the decision-makers. Ideally, they are in sync and share common goals and interests for their children. This doesn't always happen.
Children are naturally resourceful and observant, quick to notice the differences in their parents' opinions, attitudes, and reactions. This innate ability can sometimes lead them to exploit these differences to their advantage. When a child wants something that one parent is more likely to grant than the other, they may approach the more permissive parent first, presenting their request with sweet words and innocent eyes. This is a game children learn inherently, an age-old issue that is not taught yet it continues to be practiced as if it were. I call it splitting the parents.
I hear, "Go ask your mom or dad." This is when that parent is busy, distracted, or even disinterested.
One parent tends to be stricter, while the other tends to be more lenient. I observe the stricter one becomes, the more lenient the other becomes. This is circular and can create a severe imbalance between the two, resulting in a new problem that is unrelated to the child's role.
This issue may morph into parental discontent, creating a whole new problem. It will appear in their demeanor and have an effect on their relationship with the children. Coalitions between parents and children can cause a terrible imbalance in the family.
Splitting the parents is in children of all ages, yes, even with adult children.
Remember, the coalition in healthy families is between the parents who remain unsplit by the children. Parents who are united show their children strength and confidence.
Are you balanced as parents?
Watch for the blind spots.
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