NWI Parent

Two is better than one

November 9th, 2010 - By Julia Huisman

Probably the biggest difference I’ve noticed, now that I have a parenting partner, is that discipline is a whole lot easier. Already, there have been several moments when I’ve thought, “So THAT’S why there’s supposed to be two parents!”

This became most obvious one night at bedtime. I don’t even remember what caused Isabella to be upset, but she was throwing a full-on temper tantrum. She was crying loudly and uncontrollably; I tried to calm her down but to no avail. Fed up, I turned off her light and left her bedroom. I had learned from previous experience that there’s really no other way to handle such episodes.

I went downstairs and attempted to talk to Justin, but Isabella’s wailing was very distracting. I kept thinking that any minute now she’d stop crying, but she didn’t. So, ten minutes later, Justin went upstairs.

I was a little nervous. At that point he had never really disciplined her before. I wasn’t sure how she would react, and subsequently how he would react to her reaction. I suddenly felt embarrassed that he had to see this side of her, this side of me, the pushover parent side.

Isabella immediately stopped crying, thank goodness. She was probably surprised to see Justin instead of me. I sat very still on the couch, turning my ear upward in an attempt to hear their conversation, but all I could hear were murmurs of Justin’s steady deep voice followed by sweet sounds of agreement by Isabella.

A few minutes later, Justin came downstairs and Isabella stayed quiet. He told me about their conversation, about how he explained to her why such behavior is unacceptable and that she needs to respect me and listen to me. Tears welled in my eyes; at that moment I finally knew what it felt like to have the help of a husband. My mind flashed back to similar tantrum episodes Isabella and I had gone through in the past, how I had walked away from them feeling completely helpless and at a loss on how to make it better.

When a child has only one parent to listen to, sometimes that parent’s voice becomes ineffective. Especially if that voice is a wimpy female one. It just doesn’t have the same effect as a confident masculine voice. Of course, it’s not just about the voice. Justin backs me up when Isabella tests me. He takes over when I just can’t do it anymore. So finally, I can breathe a little easier, knowing that I no longer have to carry all the weight of discipline on my shoulders.

Yeah, two parents are DEFINITELY better than one.

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