Get on the Same Page

Get on the Same Page

He who is carried on another man’s back does not appreciate how far the town is.
—AFRICAN PROVERB

Please pass me that parenting handbook. I need to smack my kid with it.
—JORGE, FATHER OF TWO TEENAGE BOYS

When your children are teenagers, it’s important to have a dog so that someone in the house is happy to see you.
—NORA EPHRON

UNITED WE STAND, DIVIDED WE FALL

When it comes to discipline and boundaries, parents should try to stand united. When they are on the same page with discipline, boundaries, and consequences, they are halfway there. But it’s not easy. Very few parents are naturally on the same page when it comes to discipline. Maybe it’s dad who is too lenient and wants to befriend the teen and mom who has to do all the discipline. Maybe it’s the opposite. But the kids take advantage of the divided front, and the parents end up resenting one another.

The easiest way to get on the same page is to keep the goal in front of you: to build your child’s character and to help him or her become a responsible adult—not to make your child happy. Though it’s sometimes difficult, the more united you can be and the less mixed messages you send to your kids, the better off they will be. Someone once said, “I don’t know the secret of success for families, but I do know the secret of failure: trying to keep everybody happy all the time.” That really does make a difference in our parenting.

Getting on the same page means developing a philosophy of parenting that both parents can agree to. Then work the plan, stay calm, and do what you can do to stay emotionally healthy. This can be difficult for a married couple, so divorced parents trying to co-parent their children often find being united in parenting even more difficult. 1 It is still a worthy goal. Parents could read a book together once a year or go to a parenting seminar. Counseling or family coaching could also be helpful.
It takes time, energy, and intentionality to get on the same page as your spouse, but it will strengthen your relationship and keep you from always parenting in reactive mode.

Jim’s new book, Understanding Your Teen comes out October 28th. Be one of the first to get it by preordering here. 

 

1 Some of the finest parents I know are single parents or couples trying to blend their families. The task of coparenting with two different value bases or with an ex who doesn’t have the same goals is always difficult. However, the better you can communicate and coparent, the easier it is. If it doesn’t happen, you can still give your kids a great amount of security and direction by being as consistent as possible. For step-parenting, I recommend Ron Deal’s book The Smart Step Family.

Back to Top
Jim Burns

Jim Burns

Jim Burns is the President of HomeWord and the Executive Director of the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University. Jim speaks to thousands of people around the world each year. He has close to 2 million resources in print in 30 languages. He primarily writes and speaks on the values of HomeWord which are: Strong Marriages, Confident Parents, Empowered Kids, and Healthy Leaders. Some of his most popular books are: Confident Parenting, The Purity Code, Creating an Intimate Marriage and Closer. Jim and his wife, Cathy live Southern California and have three grown daughters, Christy, Rebecca and Heidi.

  • About HomeWord

    HomeWord helps families succeed by creating Biblical resources that build strong marriages, confident parents, empowered kids and healthy leaders. Founded by Jim Burns and supported by Doug Fields, HomeWord and Azusa Pacific University have partnered to form The HomeWord Center for Youth and Family. Learn More »

  • About Azusa Pacific University

    APU is a leading Christian college ranked as one of the nation’s best by U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review. Located near Los Angeles in Southern California, APU is a Christian university offering associate’s, bachelor’s, master's, doctoral, and degree completion programs, both on campus and online. Learn More »

  • Contact Information

    • HomeWord
      PO Box 1600
      San Juan Capistrano, CA
      92693

    • Send us an email

    • 800-397-9725
      (M-F: 8:30am-5pm PST)

Close