I used to think that I supported my husband wholeheartedly in his interactions with our children. Even when I wasn’t a huge fan of something that he said or did, I sat quietly and tried as hard as I could not to blurt anything out or interfere. I never undermined him in front of the children (well, at least I tried).

But yet, the kids would approach me and complain about things that Daddy did or said. They let off steam and told me how mean and unfair he is.

My kids must be brilliant, because they picked up on something that I didn’t notice. Though I thought I was being a supportive spouse, my kids knew that I disagreed with my husband. They sensed that, quiet as I was, I was really rooting for their team.

And once they knew I was on their side, they tried to manipulate the situation and pull me further onto their side of the conflict.

Though I may not be as brilliant as my kids, I eventually realized that something was off-kilter. If my husband and I are a team, why do my kids come over to me to complain about my teammate?

We, the parents, are the foundation upon which our children build their lives. The stronger the foundation, the bigger and higher our children can build. When the foundation is firm, our children don’t need to look down to take notice of it. They look upward as they grow.

But if the foundation starts to quake, to shift and crack, our children start to rock and sway. They look down to avoid the breaks in the cement and fight to keep their equilibrium and sense of balance. Since they’re engaged with their balancing act, they’re limited in how much they can invest in personal growth.

Your child will forget the unjust scolding in an hour; seeing a rift between his parents will take him a lot longer to regain his balance.

Our children intrinsically expect me and my husband to be a team. But when they sense that Mommy disagrees with Daddy, even if it's unstated, then the foundation starts to crack. No matter how small and subtle the rift, the kids feel the shudder.

I don’t always agree with my husband about how to deal with the kids (who does?), but I’ve smartened up. The ironclad rule is that it’s never appropriate to disagree with my husband in front of the kids.

But it goes deeper. It’s not enough for me to keep quiet and squelch my disapproval. I also need to work on myself to remind myself that my husband is a very good parent and he is doing what he thinks is best for our child.

(This doesn’t mean parents will agree about everything relating to parenting. In fact, they probably won’t. How, when and where to discuss those disagreements is a subject of an upcoming article.)

When I sit and watch what’s going on, I should exude confidence in my husband’s ability to deal with the situation. I must show my kids that I am on my husband’s team.

I should exude this confidence in my husband’s parenting abilities even if he’s reprimanding a kid for something that, I think, was just a mistake that could happen to anybody and doesn’t deserve a calling out.

I exude this confidence in my husband’s parenting skills because even if my child doesn’t deserve a reprimand, it’s much better for him to receive this scolding than to sense that his mother disagrees with how his father is treating him.

He’ll forget the unjust scolding in an hour, but if his foundation shifts beneath him, if he sees that there’s a rift between his mother and father, it will take him a lot longer to regain his balance.

Photo Credit: Unsplash, Matt Nelson