Three Ways for Parents to be Teammates

By Alicia LaCasse

I believe my parents did their best to love and raise my brothers and me, and I really do think we turned out pretty great. That said, even before I became a mother I knew I wanted to discipline and make decisions differently than my parents.

When I was a kid, it seemed my mom was the decision-maker and disciplinarian, and my dad didn’t have much of an opinion. He didn’t spank and didn’t really yell much. The stock answer to, “Dad can I…?” was usually, “Go ask your ma.” Generally, as long as we let him watch Andy Griffith and stayed out of his hair, it seemed we never heard much from my dad at all.

There were other times that I recall my mom saying, “No,” and my dad saying, “Yes.” I didn’t see them working together to make decisions, and remember feeling the tension between my parents when it came to us kids. It seemed like a parenting partnership was a struggle for them. Because of this, there were times when our family felt disjointed. As kids, we played one parent against the other and behaved as if getting our own way was more important than how anyone else felt. We often felt insecure and made a lot of mistakes that upset our parents and surely dishonored God.

Colossians 3:20 says, “Children, always obey your parents, for this pleases the Lord.”

I believe it’s a lot easier for kids to please God and obey their parents when they are being loved and disciplined consistently. When my son Marshall was born, I decided I wanted him to feel peace in his home and secure in the love of his parents. I realized this would require me to be teammates with his dad.

Here are three ways we’ve partnered together as parents:

1. We make decisions together.

Marshall’s dad and I have an ongoing conversation about the way we are raising our son. Whether big or small decisions about Marshall, we make them together. Kids begin to understand problem solving when they see their parents working together.

2. We have each other’s backs.

When disciplining, Marshall’s dad and I back each other up. Even at 2 years old, Marshall knows that right and wrong do not depend on the parent. In addition, I have decided that even if I disagree with his reason for or method of discipline, I won’t do so in front of our child.

3. We treat each other with respect, especially when our son is watching.

Because Marshall identifies with his dad, I make sure he sees me interacting positively with him. I want Marshall to have a healthy self-esteem, and if he believes that I think his father is good, my son feels that he is also good.

I am not a perfect parent, and I know I will make many mistakes in the course of Marshall’s life. My hope is that by being mindful of how I’m parenting, I can better raise my son to intentionally honor his parents and know that he is pleasing the Lord.

Alicia LaCasseAlicia resides in Hugo with her 2 year-old son Marshall and their two cats, Frank and Milo. She tweets at @amlalilac.

A Time For Everything: Day 33

What are the things you have? Your list may include a house, car, family, or job. What don’t you have? The latest technology, a surplus of money, peace of mind? For a lot of us, it’s much easier to list off all the things we don’t have, and sometimes, that’s exactly what we dwell on and dream of. We wish we had more—more time, a bigger house, more friends—but these moments, when we fight discontentment, that’s when we lose sight of the beauty all around us.

Solomon stated it like it is: “Enjoy what you have rather than desiring what you don’t have.” God is in control, and he is working in this day. Your life events may not be exactly the way you wish them to be, but know that God is working all things for your good. He is for you, not against you. And He wants to give you the best gifts like only a perfect father would.

Today, make a list of all the things you have, and let’s be thankful for every one of them. God has given us these to enjoy, so let’s not let this day go by without being thankful and joyful for each thing on our list.

Scripture: Ecclesiastes 6:7-12

7 All people spend their lives scratching for food, but they never seem to have enough. 8 So are wise people really better off than fools? Do poor people gain anything by being wise and knowing how to act in front of others?

9 Enjoy what you have rather than desiring what you don’t have. Just dreaming about nice things is meaningless—like chasing the wind.

The Future—Determined and Unknown

10 Everything has already been decided. It was known long ago what each person would be. So there’s no use arguing with God about your destiny.

11 The more words you speak, the less they mean. So what good are they?

12 In the few days of our meaningless lives, who knows how our days can best be spent? Our lives are like a shadow. Who can tell what will happen on this earth after we are gone?