Dear Dave + April....A Tuesday Series.

Dear Dave,

I'm sorry that we are fighting. I'm sorry that it has come to a stand still. I'm not sure how to fix it either. It's a big one. Parenting style. I know you don't want to be parented. We've discussed that but I don't know what to do. We had it figured out when they were little. It seemed to be black and white. We were in charge and that was that. But now they know how to push our buttons. They are talking back. They know how to drive us up a wall and actually pit us against each other.

I don't want to 'scare' our children into making right choices. Or talk down to them to try to make them better. I want to encourage growth and good choices with positiveness. It doesn't mean that we have to be soft with them but I think we can choose our words wisely with them as we shape them into the confident adults we wish them to become. If we even have a choice in that! I want to teach them kindness and compassion. I want to teach them to think positively and allow no name calling in our home. I want them to be confident in who they are. I don't want to talk down to them. I think you share those same desires and goals for our children...but getting there when we are so frustrated with them can be difficult to maintain our approach. We are very different people. Different people who fell in love and wanted to have a family. We were parented differently and merging those styles, I think, is one of the most disagreed and argued points in a marriage.

The Family Proclamation states: 'By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners.' I cannot explain the deep feelings of nurturing and teaching that are ingrained in me and confirmed in The Family Proclamation. They really are the things I think about throughout the day. How I am shaping our children. Teaching them. Nurturing them. Disciplining them. It is by divine design, but it doesn't necessarily mean that my way is the only way. We need to be helping one another with our divine roles in our family. I know personally when I'm having a bad day, or you are, the last thing we want to be told is.....'you're acting like a baby...knock it off.' I know it is what we both want to say in frustration with the situation. But what if we tried dealing with it a different way. When Blake starts whining....instead of telling him how he is acting, why don't we try asking him what is wrong. And more importantly, be more specific....like...'I can tell by your whining that something is really bothering you. Please stop whining so we can chat.' If he chooses to continue to whine then off to his room he goes.....with nothing else said. Keeping it positive will allow him to calm down. It validates his feelings. He recognizes that we know something is up....but we aren't fueling the fire by putting him on the defense by attacking his actions. Let's try it with each other too. How does that sound?

One other note to think about....you definitely 'parent' me quickly when you see something on TV that you don't want the children to see....or if I try to 'share' too much information in front of the children. You are so good about censoring those things but you come on hard and fast. You nip it in the bud quickly with me and I catch on...sometimes with a comment...but honor that request because it is really for the good of our children. Let's try a different approach....so then when we are guilty....we don't necessarily feel accused by the other person, but instead just made aware that our children's best interest aren't at stake. I'm not sure how else to solve this though. We need a signal that says instead of accusing or feeling attacked...we are just helping one another be better to reach our family goals. I'd love your thoughts.....since we spent 20 minutes in the car not talking in a stand-off. Not how I wanted it to go...but sometimes we do just need time to think it out.

Love, April

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Dear April,

We have come to a complete stand off, you are right but there is a solution. I think that sometimes words not spoken are better than some spewed in anger. I'm working on that. So if we have to spend a few minutes thinking about what we really want to say instead of the get even tactic I feel it's better. Now that we have had the opportunity to regain our composure, I feel sometimes that a child needs to know you mean business. I am not suggesting "scare" them in to submission but sometimes putting your foot down is totally necessary. With that said I do agree that it should be done with love. I can appreciate the love that you show our kids and I am trying to follow suit in the way that I deal with them in all situations whether good or bad. I think that when they try to push buttons we need to be a UNITED FRONT. My biggest issue is when you try to debate parenting with me in the middle of a situation or kid crisis. Maybe if you want to redirect the route I'm going you could ask to speak with me in private. That could be the code. It would give us time to chill out and do the same for the kids. Then we can come to a collective decision as a united front. I definitely do want the same things for our children that you listed above, I just might need a little direction because I tend to want to fix things NOW.

Love, D
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What we are going to work on with regards to Parenting: Try to show a united front and not correct each other in front of the kids. Try to use positive reinforcement and correction rather than talking down or negative. Also we are going to work on coming up with some Family Rules. Not the fluffy kind that make a pretty wall print...but real life rules that we need to improve on.

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  1. Oh Hello...this is what life is all about...thanks for keeping it real. Parenting is the hardest job in the world and some days I think perhaps I should not be one. :) It is hard to be united when you feel differently but I respect that you guys want to work on this.

    Your children are going to cherish these letter one day!


  2. Parenting is so hard. Especially since you have to take in your own and your partner's ideas of the "right" way to do it. It can be hard to compromise and still feel like you are doing the right thing for your kids. I do think it is important not to talk about HOW to discipline in front of the kids. I think it just fuels the fires and the kids know you disagree and will use that to their advantage. It is much easier said than done, though. I think it is great you are working on it and talking it through. Good luck!

  3. My husband and I have this same issue. It actually makes me feel a little better to know that we're not the only ones that get into this situation from time to time. Parenting certainly is a rough road, but it seems like you two are on the right track.

    By the way, my absolute favorite part of this post - "Not the fluffy kind that make a pretty wall print..." Haha! Cracked me up!

  4. thank you for being so SO vulnerable and honest. i love this series. my husband and i are newlyweds so we don't quite get the parenting stuff yet, but that doesn't mean that i can't relate to your "20 minutes of silence". i love the open communication that you and your hubs strive to have and i'm sure you will be blessed because of it. thanks for your example. :)


I heart comments! Just one rule that I'm sure your momma taught you...if you don't have anything nice to say...please don't say anything at all!

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