Here is a situation that will sound familiar to many parents.
Your ten-year-old son yells at you. He feels very strongly that he shouldn’t have to make his bed – it’s Saturday, after all.
You don’t like your son yelling at you, but decide not to confront him – at least not now.
However, your husband steps in.
He pulls your son aside and is very firm in his reaction – so much so, that your son is left crying. He slinks off to his room and closes his door.
You ask your husband, “What happened?”
Your husband explains that he made it clear that it isn’t ok for your son to yell at you and that he was being grounded for the violation.
“Wow” you think to yourself. You feel that your husband is being a little harsh with your son – especially with a situation that you felt you could handle on your own.
And you’re actually grateful, in a way, that your husband is standing up for you.
But what do you do now?
You’re disappointed in how your husband handled this AND you feel badly for you son. Two equally strong emotions – neither of them good.
So you let it go.
After all, you don’t want to start a fight with your husband.
But “letting it go” doesn’t feel right either.
You’re between the proverbial “rock and a hard place.”
And it feels terrible.
While you definitely don’t agree with how your husband overreacted to the situation, you want more than anything for you and your husband to have good feelings together.
Challenging him on this just doesn’t seem worth it.
What do you do?
This is actually a very typical kind of dilemma we find ourselves faced with.
In fact, we’re going to continuously have areas that we don’t agree. We’re humans, after all.
Sometimes it doesn’t feel good, but we have to handle them. And its much better if we learn how to handle these disagreements in a lovingly way.
Pretending we can gloss over them in an attempt to keep things good never works.
In our home, I discovered early on that my wife wasn’t about to hold it in when she disagreed with me.
And sometimes the techniques for letting me know were successful, and sometimes they weren’t.
I remember one particular time when I grounded our daughter because some chores went undone – again. My wife pulled me aside and started our conversation like this: “You know honey I think you’re a terrific Dad. You know that right?”
And she said it in a way that was honest and real – not condescending or manipulative in any way.
What a difference.
It immediately put me in a place where I was ready to hear whatever else she had to say.
She continued: “I really understand why you grounded her. I felt the same frustration.”
All of a sudden, I was able to drop any defenses that I might have felt, and I was open to talking about anything she wanted. Even if the discussion was about changing my parenting techniques.
And when I began to look at this more closely I was able to see why certain approaches worked with me and why some didn’t.
I noticed what approaches made me feel empowered, and what approaches made me feel defensive.
And it shifted everything. We could actually get through a parenting conversation, where we disagreed, and come out on the other end feeling positive – feeling closer.
I go into this in much more depth in my eBook “How To Talk To A Man.” In that chapter I explain how to create what I call a Security Umbrella that will allow you and your guy to discuss ANYTHING – even the most challenging topics like romance, money, even the relationship.
In the book:
You’ll learn how to create a zone of safety that will transform your challenges into opportunities to solve your parenting issues together – collaboratively, instead of by competing with each other.
You’ll learn how to speak confidently about what is working for you and what isn’t.
You’ll learn how to express your strong emotions in a way that he can hear them.
And, you will quickly see that many of the frustrations you and your husband are encountering, while challenging, are not new.
My wife and I worked through these for years. You can learn what we discovered by spending a couple of hours reading my eBook.
If you’re struggling, please download my eBook now and begin to get the help you want and need.
Jeffrey Levine is a corporate coach and trained mediator (and Rori Raye’s husband) who works with both men and women to improve their communication, deepen their connection and remove the blocks that keep them from feeling and expressing love. He is the author of “How To Talk To A Man”, which contains invaluable advice, tools and solutions to help you avoid common relationship pitfalls, and clean things up when they go south. “Every moment presents a new choice for you: a decision about what you want – and what you believe you deserve.”