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Forefront families by Sally Burgess;United We Stand; www.forefrontfamilies.org

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On speaking with a young mother recently, she told me she was having a problem making a stand with her children on certain behavioral issues. She makes a rule and her husband won't back her up. This lack of support makes her feel like the ogre while he remains 'Mister Nice Guy'. She feels powerless when it comes to insisting on certain levels of behavior. Marriage can be stressful in itself, but adding children to the mix also adds extra strain.

Through our blogs we place a great deal of emphasis upon the importance of strong family values and being in agreement on matters pertaining to the child-rearing practices and discipline procedures you will adopt. There needs to be a set of principles, standards, expectations or a code of ethics which forms the framework upon which you base your beliefs and behavior. Your beliefs and your actions define you. Every parent would be proud to know they exhibited a 'stand out' family in the community.

How do you reach agreement when it comes to raising great kids?

1. Ultimately, young unmarried couples should talk about beliefs and disciplinary practices before they marry. I am astonished at how few couples really talk about such important matters and it's only after their first child becomes a toddler and they begin to discipline, that they find themselves at odds over their ideas in raising a child.

2. If you are already married and have children, and there is disagreement with how you are handling the kids, it's never too late, although it would have been better if it had been established earlier. Here are some suggestions:

a)    Sit down together with pens and paper and each write down what you want your family to look like and be known for e.g. They are honest. They are successful in work and school. They help others. They support each other. They are kind to others. They are good sports. They keep their word etc.

b)    Next, each one writes down life values that are important to them i.e. honesty, trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, caring about others, obedience and so on.

   c) Each person then places the values in priority order of importance to them.

c)    Compare notes and work out which are most important to both of you. You have now obtained agreement.

         Note: It is OK that you have different opinions and priorities. Just come to

         an agreement on what you can both live with.

3. You can now consider the beliefs and exhibiting behaviors you both want your

   family to be known for.

4. TOGETHER, set behavioral expectations and consequences (positive and negative) and agree to support each other in their application. It is important that when you teach each value, you need to also explain what that value will look like in your home e.g. Honesty means we tell the truth, we don't steal stuff, and we own up when we do something wrong. Respect means that we will care about others, use manners, obey those in authority and look after our belongings and those of others. Responsibility means working as a team around the home, sharing the chores and generally taking care of business.

5. Train your kids to meet those expectations and tell them you stand together so there will be no playing one parent off against the other!

6. Evaluate the process and congratulate one another as you see peace and harmony develop between you as a couple, and amongst the kids. When you have attained a positive home environment and everyone is cooperating you will wonder why you didn't do this long ago!

7. When there are differing view points that cannot be resolved, then the marriage is likely to be a short one or an unhappy one at best, unless you act to change this situation. Get professional help before the rot sets in.

Go for it! Create that 'stand out' family now! You can do it! We all can do it!

If you have any questions on this subject, I would be pleased to hear from you at sally@forefrontfamilies.org, Check out our website at www.forefrontfamilies.org and our blogsite at www.forefrontfamilies.blogspot.com   We also have a book titled ‘Kids don’t come with manuals’ able to be purchased through our website.



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