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 37

Have you ever heard the phrase, “If it feels good, do it”? Or “Dive in with your heart first”? That’s one way of pursuing pleasure in this world. Whatever desire you feel—buying an RV, booking a family cruise, or purchasing all the candy on sale at Target—in that moment, seize it. Wild, impulsive, doesn’t matter.

But Solomon warns against this kind of wisdom; for it isn’t even wisdom at all. Because oftentimes in life, careful planning is key. Just like we would choose to walk in light instead of stumbling around in darkness, by choosing thoughtfulness over thoughtlessness, we can foresee some of what lies ahead and avoid the negative consequences that comes from being rash. Solomon claims this to be the way the wise pursue pleasure.

How do you approach living life and making decisions? Are you methodical and deliberate? Or do you err on the side of impulsive and hasty? Today, let’s be intentional about the way we spend our time, and as we work, grocery shop, and take care of our kids, let’s put our efforts toward living like the way of the wise.

Scripture: Ecclesiastes 2:12-16

The Wise and the Foolish

12 So I decided to compare wisdom with foolishness and madness (for who can do this better than I, the king?). 13 I thought, “Wisdom is better than foolishness, just as light is better than darkness. 14 For the wise can see where they are going, but fools walk in the dark.” Yet I saw that the wise and the foolish share the same fate. 15 Both will die. So I said to myself, “Since I will end up the same as the fool, what’s the value of all my wisdom? This is all so meaningless!” 16 For the wise and the foolish both die. The wise will not be remembered any longer than the fool. In the days to come, both will be forgotten.