Discipline and Co-parenting

Disciplining children can be hard enough as it is in a traditional family.  But add divorce, joint custody and getting remarried to the equation and it makes it even more difficult.

The girl’s father was very lazy, nothing bothered him and it took pulling teeth and ultimatums to get him to lift a finger.  Now I’m in a relationship that is quite the opposite:  Frank does things way before I even need to ask.  The problem with this type of personality though is that he is ‘Johnny on the Spot’ when it comes to my girls and the proper discipline.

I’m from the school that no one disciplines your children except their own parents (unless of course they’re staying at someone else’s home and the parents aren’t around). 

disciplineFrank is from the school that anyone can and should take matters into their own hands.  [I don't mean literally.  Neither one of us has never laid a hand on any of the kids.]

For example, this just happened the other day, Frank and I stayed up way later than we normally do watching movies and then the following morning Frankie woke up and we didn’t hear him cry.  Kaitlyn’s room is right next to his so she went in his room, took him out of his crib and brought the baby into her room to play with the idea that she was helping us out. 

Me, being the lover of all things sleep, loved this.  I’ve allowed her to do this in the past, either by me asking her to go get him or vice versa so I’ve seen her take him out of the crib many times and she’s never had a problem.  Plus, if she had a hard time taking him out and accidentally hurt his legs or something he would not hesitate to cry.  But that scenario has never happened.

So I wake up with Frank walking into our room with the baby and he said “Did you know Kaitlyn takes the baby out of the crib?”  I said yes and thought that would be the end of it.  He then says “I don’t want her taking him out of the crib unless she asks us first and we say its ok”.  To which I replied ok and went back to sleep.

The next day as we’re all sitting around the table having lunch and Kaitlyn tells Frank something funny that happened that morning and Frank asked if she got the baby out of the crib.  Her and I both said yes.  He got pretty upset and said he didn’t want her to do it anymore.  I told him I recalled that he didn’t want her to do it without getting permission first.  He then said no, he doesn’t want her doing it at all.  He explained that he doesn’t feel she’s strong enough and didn’t think it was a good idea.  Then I got upset that he was doing this in front of the children and not allowing me a say in this.  I explained that if the baby was getting hurt he would cry as she was pulling him out of the crib, etc.

The most frustrating aspect of all of this is that he and I (like all parents) are supposed to be a united front.  So we can’t argue about it in front of the children.  But at the same time, pressing issues need to be dealt with immediately so the kids understand the consequences of their actions right away.

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