It was an ice cream that fueled it. Such a fuss over ice cream. I like ice cream, but my daughter inevitably likes it more! I had already established a rule with her that she could have ice cream if she collected all the pom poms in her “I’m nice” jar. (This was a jar we created to praise all the nice things she had done and her reward was ice cream!) But we needed to go and Daddy had promised her ice cream at home if she sat in her push chair, but Mummy said no we can’t give her ice cream until she fills her jar.
Kara was confused, Mummy and Daddy were frustrated at their different stances on the situation and the result was ‘a meltdown’ of gigantic proportions on the floor of the shopping mall. For everyone to see and believe me everyone was looking!
Don’t you feel at these times that it’s only your child who has these screaming tantrums?! Well don’t worry it isn’t, mine does too! But the point I’m making here isn’t about whether or not your child has tantrums (I still haven’t figured that one out yet). But about being on the same page! In this case, Hiroshi and I were definitely not on the same page, Hiroshi wanted to get rid of the tantrum fast, which is understandable and I wanted to enforce the rule system that I had created, which also makes sense. Both ways of parenting are not wrong, but in our mummy and daddy team we needed to have our ‘team spirit’!
When we get married we become a team, with God as our coach! And when we have kids they join our team, but we are still the leaders and we need to get stronger in our team leadership, to enforce discipline, values, rules, expectations, our family environment, goals etc. These are things we need to talk about and discuss together. Bringing up children is not just something left for the mum to work out, just as not as its all for the dad.
Like this verse says God has joined us together to raise our children as a team, not as separate entities ‘mummy’ and ‘daddy’. A team means we celebrate our successes and get over the tough stuff together! We are each other’s cheer leaders! So this team thing, lets work out how to do that!
We need to be on the same page.
If you ask who is the strict one in our team, my husband would say me. He likes to do relaxed type parenting which includes cake for breakfast and ice cream as bribery. Maybe a lot of dads are like this, anything goes type parenting! And for somethings this is important and fun for kids. But for the big things we need to be on the same page. Being on the same page means we talk about our disciplining strategies, how we will run our family and our plans for our families and kids future, rather than just taking it as it comes which could result in differing opinions in the heat of the moment.
We need to have the same values and standards as well as the same rules and expectations for our family. So if we don’t have the same rules at the beginning, we talk it out until we do and then stick to it. Because our clever daughter will always try both parents if one doesn’t give her what she wants and I am sure it will only escalate as she gets older. So we need to ask “What did Mummy/Daddy say?” When she comes pattering along with her request, usually for TV or Snacks! Kids also need consistency and will listen more if both parents are consistent with the same rules and standards. So if you are getting frustrated because you are not on the same page as your spouse, take time to set the ground rules with each other and then make sure your kids also know about it.
Our kids are not the BOSS
After our kids are born, we want to give them so much attention and it can be easy for them to become the center of our team and ignore each other. But we believe that when husband and wife come together they become one – that doesn’t mean we become one with our children when they are born too. Of course we love them and cherish them, but we have to be careful that they don’t separate us or become the number 1 in our marriage team.
As a mum it is very easy to make the kids my dream and center of everything. But I need to remember after God my husband is number one and my kids second and not give all my energy and attention to the kids and save little for my husband. The more we let our kids become the center of our marriage, the harder it will be to maintain a great marriage and have a team spirit. A kid who is treated as the number 1 in the family could turn out spoilt and full of expectation. But a child who knows their place in the family will flourish in their role and will love their part in their family.
In the same way we don’t try to do everything around our kids or for our kids. Of course we look after them to our utmost ability, but we are not letting the kids control our schedules and lives. Of course it’s easier to say than do when your two year old is throwing a tantrum on the shopping mall floor, but those are the times when we need to stick to our guns and the expectations we have set out as our team!
Sometimes we need to say no to others.
Sometimes what we will agree on as a parenting team may be different to what our parents or parents in law think, or what our culture or the people around us say about bringing up kids. But it is our family and we need to set the foundation as our family.
One area we have both decided is the way our family will do things is in sleeping arrangements. After our kids have turned 6 months (and no longer at a risk of SIDS) we have let them sleep in their own room. We decided this because we believe it is not only important for them to get a good nights sleep by themselves and for us to get a good nights sleep, but to help them become prepared for independence, as well as protect the intimacy in our marriage. We believe that this is the best for our marriage as well as our kids!
If you are Japanese this may seem unusual to you since In Japan it is the culture to sleep in the same room or bed with your child until they are elementary students or older. This was a totally new idea for me since I had always had my own room since I was a baby.
Making this decision we knew we would have some questions from our Japanese side of the family since it was a new concept for them. Of course, they are very understanding and accept our ways but I know for other families this is not always the case and other advice is given. It can be easy to give into this advice but sometimes we need to take the advice offered with apinch of salt and say thank you for your advice, but we have decided to do things a new way!