Everything you do or don't do in parenting will also have great impact for your marriage. In other words:

"Parenting challenges ARE marriage challenges."

With that idea in mind, let's dive in and see where we can help you with your marriage and parenting challenges.

One of the best things you can do for your marriage is to learn how to be united in all things – know that the two of you are a team and look for ways to work as a team. This is a simple concept, but will be challenging for some to put this into practice. Why will this be challenging for some? This will be challenging for you if you are not used to being united and working together as a team. And the harder it is for you to learn this, the more desperately you need this.

Being on the same team means that even though you have your own ideas about parenting and marriage that are different than those of your spouse, you will choose to realize that it is far more important to be united (finding compromise) than it is to embrace your individual ideas (lack of compromise). Let's say that you think that your kid's bedtime should be flexible, depending on what's going on, and your spouse seems very rigid, believing that your kids need structure and a fixed bedtime to thrive. Or maybe it's the other way around. So, which one of you is right? Neither one! The best solution in this example is whatever compromise you and your spouse agree to, which is then applied consistently by both you and your spouse at all times. For your kids, this means that parenting and rules from either mom or dad are united and predictable. Do you think the kids in this example will ever find a way to drive a wedge between their mom and dad? Nope, they probably won't.

Remember to be UNITED and CONSISTENT in your parenting; you want to be predictable. The goal here is for your kids to start acknowledging your unity and predictability with phrases like, "I knew you were going to say that," or "You always say that," or even, "You and mom/dad never let me do that!" When this begins to happen, it is time for Mom and Dad to high-five each other and celebrate this progress.

Start building this into your daily language and routine with your kids by saying things like, "Let me talk to your dad about that" or "Let's talk to mom about that when she gets home." Just be careful that you are not avoiding making some easier decisions on your own, or else your kids will soon determine that you are the weaker parent, and he/she will try to overrun you whenever he/she can. As an example, if your child is with Mom alone and says, "I will not eat my dinner," in a defiant way, Mom does not need to wait for Dad to deal with what is happening at that moment. Mom could deal with the defiance on her own but consult with Dad about additional consequences and how to handle this kind of behavior moving forward so that you are enforcing things the same way. Be lovingly firm because you are the adult and know what is best, not lovingly lax, which allows a kid to make their own rules and eventually become their own ruler! 

Boundaries are just like bumpers at a bowling alley – they are a loving way to let your kids know when they have bumped into a limit that you set for their own good. We live in a world that says kids should be able to make their own choices. Think about that for a minute. Do you think a kid who would prefer to eat nothing but candy and boogers can make solid life choices that may impact them for years to come? Absolutely not! If a kid was capable of making their own adult-like choices, then they certainly would not need you, their parent, for anything except maybe to be their own personal bank account, giving them money whenever they want it. Even then, it's time for that kid to get a job!

Kids grow up to be anxious and fearful when they DON'T understand what their boundaries are. Think about your own childhood experiences as an example of this. Were there times you had no idea what the rules were, what was expected of you, or what your boundaries were? Kids need boundaries even though they will fight against them, which is really their way of making sure those boundaries are still in place. There is currently a trend with something called "Gentle Parenting," which actually has very few healthy boundaries. This sounds loving at first but is much too lax in most ways. Think about this; God parents us in loving ways, but they are not always gentle.

As an adult, you already know that your life choices are tied to both benefits and consequences. Choose well and you experience the benefits of your choice. Choose poorly, or foolishly, and the consequences will be revealed soon enough. Shouldn't we be teaching our kids that this is the way the world works? YES! Full disclosure: I once gave my daughter a paid job, which was the weekly pool maintenance at our house. She did great for the first four weeks. After that, she started getting lax, putting off the work because she "needed to spend time with her friends." I let her know that the pool needed regular, consistent care, and if she could not do that, I would need to jump in and do the job myself. After two or three weeks of doing my daughter's job for her, when she didn't show up, I fired her. Today, she is nearly 30 years old and is every employer's favorite employee. Did my good boundaries with her have anything to do with how responsible she is today? I certainly believe so, and I think she would agree.

Once your kids begin to understand that benefits and consequences are tied to their choices in life, things will start to feel smoother and less chaotic for you as parents. Tami reminded me that parents often make discipline too complicated; you simply want your kids to connect benefits and consequences to real-life choices at some point. 

Here are a few examples of this:
"If I ditch school, there will be consequences like __________." If I do my best with school, my benefits will be _________." 
"If I am mean to others, there will be consequences like _________." "If I am kind to others, there will be benefits like ________."

Poor life choices are usually followed by short-term benefits, and long-term consequences.
Good life choices are often followed by a short-term consequence, but long-term benefits.
Think about that for a minute. If you go out with friends on a work night and party too hard, you will have a short-term benefit (that sure seemed fun at the time) and a long-term consequence (maybe you had a hangover for two days, or your boss fired you for being late, or you saw how much money you charged to your credit card that night). This, friends, is how life works!

Whenever there is a problem with your kids or an inconsistency with parenting, Mom and Dad need to make time to fine-tune things so that those parenting challenges become fewer and fewer. You must always have a plan and stay two steps ahead of your kids!

"Parenting is not for sissies; it is a hard job — and worth the effort. Don't give up."

Your kids need you to show up for parenting and to create good and consistent boundaries for them. The future adult version of your kids is counting on you to do this well most of the time.


1. Talk together about why being united and consistent in parenting is healthy for parents AND for kids too.

2. Do you currently have good boundaries with your kids? If so, give a few examples. If not, it's time to figure out what that would look like in your family. Come up with some healthy boundaries that you can put in place.

3. Have you been guilty of trying to shield your kids from appropriate consequences for their behaviors? If so, does protecting them from consequences lead to a better life for them, or is protecting them from consequences something you do for you (be honest here)?

4. Are you intentional about pointing out the benefits for the good choices your kids make?

What follows are a few other resources that we have found helpful over the years. Take some time to look through these other sources and glean some wisdom from them. And let us know what you think about them.

I found an article called THE PARENTING LONG GAME that should be helpful for parents as they learn to navigate the important yet incredibly difficult task of raising a responsible, God-loving human. Find the link to The Parenting "Long Game" below.

Fiorente by Zane is a collection of many things helpful to moms. Among those is a blog with a great deal of helpful information. Tandem Marriage was recently featured on this blog, and you can find that post here:

Find "Parenting Challenges ARE Marriage Challenges, Part 2 of 2" using the link button below.

Parenting Challenges Part 2


If you have any comments or questions about this post, we would love to hear from you using our contact page here. 

By Brad & Tami Miller. Copyright © 2023 

Link to: https://TandemMarriage.com/post/parents1