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Six Areas of Conflict in Marriage Part 4 – Disagreements over Child-Rearing

By:  Donna Martin   #happytogethermarriage

Warning!!!  If you are having trouble in your marriage - Do Not Have Children!!

I love my children and grandchildren.  They have filled our lives with so much joy and excitement.  We look forward to the times that we get to spend with them.  Each moment we are together is precious.

Children are a blessing from God.  Psalm 127:3 tells us that “Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him.”  However, too often couples who are having troubles in their marriage believe that if they have children it will help strengthen their marriage.  After it is too late they discover that when children are added to an already rocky marriage it usually just complicates the problem.

So if God intended for children to be a blessing to our lives, why do they add stress to a marriage?  Once again it goes back to expectations.  Since a husband and wife came from different families with different backgrounds it is very likely that their parents disciplined them in different ways.  One family may have been strict while the other family was lenient.  One family may have spanked the other used time out.  One spouse might have been an only child the other spouse might have come from a large family.  One family may have been surrounded by grandparents and cousins the other may not have had any contact with extended family.

Because of these differences, a couple may have differing expectations about raising children.  Once again communication is essential when it comes to raising children.  It is a two-parent job.  And both parents need to be on the same page.  Children are quick to learn that mommy will give in much easier than daddy or vise versa.  They are very smart and they will figure out how to play one parent against another one if you let them.  Therefore, it is important that parents decide on parenting strategies and agree on a plan for raising their children.

Here are some tips that will help alleviate conflicts over child-rearing.

1.  Agree upon a plan of discipline whether it is spanking, time out, grounding, or some other method, both parents need to know the plan of action (Which by the way, may change as the child grows.)

2.  Be consistent – If the rule is that your child has to put away his toys before he goes to bed then he should have to do it every time.  If the consequence for hitting his sister is sitting in time out then every time he hits his sister be sure he goes to time out.

3.  Do not make false threats.  Do not tell your child that if they do not pick up their toys then they will not get to go to their soccer game unless you really plan on making them miss the soccer game.  Then if they don’t pick up the toys be prepared to call the coach and tell them your child is not coming.

4.  Do not undermine your spouse when they are disciplining your child.  If you take up for your child or tell your spouse not to fuss at your child you are teaching your child to disrespect your spouse. If the consequence for talking back is no video games, then write on the calendar the date that your child can start playing video games again and stick to it. Be sure that the other spouse knows that the consequence is in place so that the child doesn’t sneak in a game.

5. Be sure that no means no.  So many times a child will ask over and over for something until he wears down the parent and gets his way.  Be firm stay strong. 

6.  Make sure that your child does what you tell him to do the first time.  If you repeat your instructions over and over your child will delay obeying for as long as he can.  Tell your child to do something one time and then if he does not obey, administer the consequences.  He needs to learn to respect you and he is not being respectful if you have to tell him over and over to do something.

Parenting is not for the weak.  Remember that your children are going to grow up and leave home.  After that you and your spouse will be left alone.  Be sure as your raise your children that you also continue to strengthen your relationship as a couple so that when your children leave the nest you and your spouse can make your empty nest a honeymoon retreat.

The Martins currently present “Happy Together” marriages seminars for churches and organizations.  To schedule a seminar call Michael at 940-735-1515. They also publish a weekly “Happy Together” Blog about family and marriage issues.  You can order copies of their new books Dancing With Death and 366 Tidbits We Have Learned in 14,610 Days of Marriage, read, and subscribe to their “Happy Together” Blog by logging onto the Martin’s website at

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