I'm constantly disciplining my 4-year-old, but my husband comes home after a long day at work and is much 'softer' on our son. I'm sick of looking like the bad guy.
The parent who is around more does take on the role of disciplinarian, but the real problem here is consistency. A young child with two parents with opposing styles is bound to get confused about which behaviors are OK or not. You and your spouse need to have ongoing dialogues (NOT after a long day at work) about backing each other up. Surely you both want the same thing: a well-behaved and confident child.
Here are some tips on how to approach the problem:
* Avoid the blame game. Keep the focus on what’s good for your son, rather than how it makes you feel to be the ‘bad guy’ or him to be ‘soft.’
* Reassess your style, too. Is it possible that your constant strictness is because you feel solely accountable? Do you take over out of habit, even when your husband is around?
* Share the load. Assign certain rule-heavy tasks to your husband on weekends. He’ll get important practice setting boundaries and can learn first-hand that being soft has its downsides. Plus, you’ll get a break!
The conflict you’re feeling and the lack of consistent discipline will take a toll on your child. Confused kids act up more often. As parents, you owe it to yourselves to start aligning your styles now.