By Dr. Mark Crosby LPC; LMFT, Senior Pastor of Live Oak United Methodist Church
Child Psychologist Dr. James Dobson said, “Parenting isn’t for cowards.” As a marriage and family therapist, I agree, and I would add that parenting isn’t a competition, but it is for a mom and dad who aren’t united as a team.
Whenever parents are in competition to be the more popular, fun, or progressive parent, the potential for division and dissonance between them becomes greater. We read in scripture that Jesus said, “A house divided cannot stand,” Mark 3:35. When you recognize that children need both parents to give them the insight needed to create coping skills, you and your spouse begin to unite as a team. When this happens, your child can form relationships, confidence, and the attributes needed to succeed. The strength of your unity is what impacts the overall well-being of your child, and the unity is reflected in the parenting style.
When you work as a team, you have greater insight, better ideas, and more rational solutions. These parental attributes become more important as your child gets older. As the challenges become greater, your child may seek to divide and conquer the family to get what he/she wants. These ploys can create problems.
One helpful sequence of relational unity is to begin with God and His Word. Discover what the Bible says about what it means to have a relationship with God. Next, insure that you and your spouse share the love and respect needed to create unity, and then, focus on parenting your children without the competition.
You and your spouse shouldn’t choose between parenting and marriage, but instead, recognize the importance of unity and specialization that each of you have. Due to the many stressors, irritations, and complaints you endure while raising children, teamwork and marital harmony are essential to create the love and respect needed to meet parenting challenges.
A principle to hold to is to believe the best rather than assume the worst. It should be our goal to demonstrate unity and teamwork, so we can raise happy children. ■