Friday, January 6, 2012

The Balance Of The Home.

The picture looks different in each household, but most every family has one. The "easy" parent and the "hard" parent .... also loosely known as the Disciplinarian and the Softie. (NOT to be mistaken for a pushover.)

The Hard Parent has the reputation for being firm in their ways - never wavering from the rules and regulations. This parent has no problem with correction and discipline and does it with great force and a gentle ease. They're just good at it. And, ultimately, respected for it.

The Easy Parent has the reputation for "giving in" more often and struggles with discipline. They are lovers of peace and wanting everyone to be happy all the time. They are more apt to bend the rules and go with the flow in order to get that. This parent fills the gaps between the meltdown of the child and the correction of the Disciplinarian.

Photo on 2011-11-10 at 18.56 #3

Both parents have their positive and negative qualities and bring both good and not-so-good to the table depending on the situation and which parent is handling it. If the Disciplinarian is handling a situation better suited for the Softie, chaos often ensues and vice versa. God distinctly gives each parent different attributes and strengths so they can all work together in one accord to make a family work functionally and beautifully.

It's all part of His plan.

In our family, Husby is more of the Disciplinarian and I am more of the Softie. Sometimes, I don't know what I would do without Husby and his ability to get on Levi's level, calmly yet forcefully explain why we do or do not do things, and correct him in a firm and gentle way. Levi totally respects his Daddy and I absolutely learn a lot about "sticking to your guns" from him. God has given Husby the gift of discipline and it creates the perfect balance in our home.

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For me, it is sometimes h-a-r-d to discipline my boy. I have no problem with it if it is something Levi has blatantly done - like stealing a toy from his cousin or disobeys me by not doing as I say. That's easy. (And correction is easy. I correct him with with absolutely zero hesitancy.) It's the more tricky issues of childhood that I have a hard time sticking to - like giving Levi something different to eat if he's not eating his supper. Husby is fine with telling him that is what we are having and if you don't eat it then you don't get something else. And there I am scrounging up a peanut butter and jelly so that he will just eat SOMETHING. Or if Levi is in his bed screaming, "I need my Mommy,; I JUST NEED MY MOMMY!", Husby can totally let that go by turning up the TV and telling me not to go in there. And in 3 seconds flat, I'm cuddled up next to him telling him I'm here and everything is okay.

Hence, the Softie.

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It's extra hard for me because as annoying as this sounds, Levi is just such an "easy" kid. He does everything he is told to do and his super tender heart is always eager to please. I can't recall the last time he's had to go to Time Out, because he is really good to mind and obey. Discipline, when he gets it, breaks his heart. And that breaks MY heart.

(Note: Levi is often corrected. Daily. There is a big distinction between discipline and correction. Discipline is a result of blatant disobedience. Correction is necessary and vital in teaching proper behavior. You are doing your child a disservice by avoiding correction, and I believe it should be enforced and displayed by both parents equally and as needed.)

The other evening, Husby ran into a sticky situation at work and had to stay late, supper was already cooked and on the table, and Levi refused to eat. I was exhausted from the post-holiday housework I had done all day and frustrated that supper was done and Husby was not. Levi was testing me by not even trying one bite of anything and after 10 minutes of The Battle, I lost my cool, threatened Time Out and then I lost it. I started crying.

"Levi, please just eat your food!" I said with tears streaming down my face.

It takes me by surprise when Levi pushes the limits because he's usually so good to just do what I say. But there is something about this child and food where he gets this strong will that can't be broken!

Levi took one look at me and burst into a fit of tears screaming, "don't cry, Mommy!!! I'm sorry!!! Don't cry, Mommy!!!' as he wailed and wailed. And I wailed with him. The two of us sat in the floor bawling. Over absolutely nothing .... in the grand scheme of life, that is.

Husby got home and took one look at us both and immediately jumped into the situation and saved the day. He gave me a pep-talk and lots of hugs and then tackled the Levi situation. He was calm, he was poised, and he was firm. He was exactly what we both needed.

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And there are times when I think Husby is going a little hard and I am able to bring some ease to the situation, too. But, those are his stories to tell - not mine.

The situation the other day was such a picture to me of the team that God created us to be. When one is down, the other is strong. When one is out of ideas and energy, the other swoops in with a fresh perspective. When one needs a break from it all, the other relieves them. God so uniquely created Husby's personality to perfectly compliment mine .... not only in the interaction of us as husband and wife, but in our roles as Mommy and Daddy, as well. It just blows my mind! Yet another reason it is so unbelievably important to wait on the spouse GOD has created FOR YOU. Simply put, He knows exactly what he is doing.

Together, we balance our home and our vision toward our children is the exact same - to bring up God fearing, polite, respectful little boys in a loving, secure and peaceful home.

I'm fortunate to have a spouse to jumps in there and fulfills his role. I know lots of Mommy's who are left to do it all on their own and that leaves them exhausted and stressed. Plus, they always feel like "the bad guy", and that's not fair. I believe each parent needs to use and enforce their God given gifts to parent together as a whole. There are times Husby and I have role reversal days where he is extra easy and I am extra corrective. It's a fluctuation and an ever changing life experiment, this parenting gig. And just when you think you have it figured out, there's a wrench thrown in and you're left starting all over.

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I'm just happy I have the perfect partner to do it with.

What does it look like in your home? Are you the Disciplinarian, the Softie or both?

33 comments:

  1. Love this post! I am definitely the disciplinarian of the family. I think I adopted this title as I stay home with the girls & am with them 24/7, versus hubby who works outside of the home & travels quite a bit for work. He is definitely the softie, but the girls listen much better to him & what he has to say. Go figure. :/

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  2. Great pictures! I don't have any kids yet but I definitely agree that I see this to be the case all the time, it helps to balance the family out.

    xoxo
    Petchie
    http://itsallofthelittlethings.blogspot.com/

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  3. GREAT post! I am the "mean one." Daddy is the Nice one! Makes it sometimes difficult! I also think alot of it depends on how you were raised.

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  4. Love this! I have to say that I am BOTH - yes, both... It is exhausting BUT when I do mainly EverythinG it is what has to be done. Not that DAD doesn't do things but you know how MOMS are :)

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  5. This post is fantastic, Whitney! My husband is definitely the Softie and I know I will be more of the disciplinarian... our baby is only 7.5 months now, but with another on the way I'm sure within a couple years we will fulfill these roles more firmly. Sometimes I find myself getting frustrated with the fact that my husband always gives in... whether it be with the baby or even our dog! (haha)... Thank you for reminding me that this is necessary so that we can be a balance of each other...

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  6. I'm both and he's both, but I'm MORE into discipline and he's more into being a softie. (I think because I stay at home and know what kind of day the kids have had and he's at work all day) When he does discipline (like truly, not just correction), it breaks the kids hearts and they burst into tears...A firm word from Daddy just sends the babies over the edge. I rarely have to enforce discipline either though, so that's wonderful. The last time was a few days ago when Sissy was throwing dirt at her brother. REALLY wouldn't have mattered, but there were some rocks in there. Heehee!

    Lovely post!

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  7. With my husband gone most of the time I HAVE to be the disciplinarian. I actually get frustrated when he comes home and gets to play and have a good time with them and I am left being the bad guy. Then when he does get on to them for something, I am taking up for them, I don't want them to get in trouble. It's weird.
    Something I have always kept in the back of my mind is that "discipline" means "to teach." So when they are sent to time-out I explain to them what they did wrong, and how they can do it differently next time. I am trying to teach them a better way.

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  8. I love this post. We have a 3 month old...so I'm not sure which roles we are going to assume yet...

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  9. The food battle...I wave the white flag of surrender. My pedi (and my husband) both tell me that there's no reason to make a kid eat...they will eat when they're hungry enough. As hard as that is, I go with it...and neither of my boys are malnourished. I am the stickler in my family and my hubby is the softie. I hope that changes sometime, because it's not fun being the one they are more "scared" of.

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  10. I'm more the disciplinarian and my husband's more the softie. Really I think I'm just more consistent than he is. Although now that our almost 3 year old has started testing his boundaries more, my husband is learning the importance of consistency. =) Like you said in your post, it's such a good balance when you have a little of both and one can step in when the other needs to be "relieved"!

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  11. I think it depends, for us. I'm more of the disciplinarian in the sense that I'm home with the kids, so I know what works. I know that the discipline will pay off. My husband is definitely a disciplinarian when he's home, but it's harder for him. He's more sensitive with the kids and it secretly breaks his heart when he makes our little ones cry. He can't hardly stand it. But he's good about being firm regardless, and I think he's learning. :) It's really surprising because I'm the more emotional one between the two of us, and he's the strong, calm one, but when it comes to our babies ... he's just as soft as can be. I love it. :)

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  12. I know this doesn't have much to do with your post but, I read your blog often, but don't usually comment, but I just want to say I love how you never say a negative thing about your husband. (And there were three but's in that big run-on-sentance. Sorry :) ) I'm sure you guys have your fair share of disagreements and normal marriage ups and downs, but you're truly an example of only speaking kind about your husband. It's something I have to remind myself when my husband does something to annoy me and I just want to talk about it all over twitter or on my blog. Thank you for being such a good example of a joyful wife, and for reminding me to only speak positive about my husband. :)

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  13. Great post! It's so neat how we are made to complement one another! It's weird with us- I think he's more the disciplinarian, but he's also better at choosing his battles. He's stricter, but on things that don't matter (like wearing a totally weird outfit to Target) he just doesn't make it an issue.

    I do have to say that I was happy to see the other commenter mention that discipline means "to teach". I personally don't associate discipline with punishment only; I think that correction is also part of discipline. I think it's because I have an education background and we really focused on discipline being much broader than what we typically think of it as.

    Thanks so much for this great post!

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  14. I'm totally the disciplinarian in our house, but more than who is considered what parent, the most important thing for my husband and I is to back each other up no matter what. If he disciplines or lays down the law and I don't agree, I stand back and let him handle it and vice versa. The most important thing for us is that she knows that we stand together as a parental unit and whatever is said by one will be backed up by both 100%.

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  15. I love this post!! Even though J and I do not have children, I often think about who will be the softie in the relationship. I'm thinking it's going to be him. HAHA! I teach 4th grade, so I'm constantly in that correction mode. When we babysit our friend's kids, he is always giving them what they want. It's pretty sweet how his heart just melts with them. I can't wait to see him with our own some day! :)

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  16. I completely expected to end up as the disciplinarian, since I was raised with a mother whose mottos were "Deal with it!" and at meal times "Special orders do upset us." And I totally expected my husband to be the Softie, because he is a picky eater, and (sadly) his mother did most everything for him and he is only just learning how to do things like clean the house or order a pizza or shop around when his car needs new tires -and I'm having to teach him all of this stuff because his mother never did.
    We don't have kids yet, but our parenting styles are already coming out as we raise our beloved dog (brittany spaniel) Morrie. It turns out, I am definitely the Softie. I was the one who gave in and allowed Morrie to sleep in our room, and then eventually and eventually our bed. And Nate is often the disciplinarian. Morrie usually comes to me when he wants to cuddle (he will curl up on my feet), or he will nose my hand when he wants to be pet (and I often give in to his demands for attention), and Morrie goes to my hubby when he wants to play or go outside or be fed.
    I always thought that it was bad that we have different parenting skills, that we needed to be thinking exactly alike on parenting at all times. Thanks for pointing out that we really just need to work together with the same end goal in mind, and that we complement one another and balance each other out.

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  17. I am not sure how it will be with babies... but with the dogs (hehe) and with Karlie, I am the disciplinarian and Mark is the softie. He is especially soft with Karlie. I have a feeling we will have the same roles with our own babies. But sometimes I do feel like the "bad guy" and I admit I struggle with it making me a little insecure. I mean, who likes the bad guy? ha. But like you said, it's balance, and it works well. We correct each other and learn as we go. (-:

    ~Kathryn

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  18. I totally 100 % agree with Justine's comment.
    You really have inspired me to make sure that in my new marriage I never speak ill of my husband.
    He always tells me he is "team princess" (me) and I always tell him I am "team snookums" (him)
    HAHA!

    Really though. You are such an inspiration :)

    lovelovelove,
    moo

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  19. I am definitely the disciplinarian in the family. But as a SAHM to three littles, a lot of those opportunities for correction happen during the day when my husband is at work. So I would have to step up to the plate anyway, I think.

    As my kids get older, I find that dealing with their issues of the heart (deception, lying, jealous attitude, etc.) as SO much harder than dealing with a tantrum. I am having to pray so fervently each day that God leads me to intervene in necessary ways that will reach them. Talk about easier said than done! I couldn't do it without the 100% support of my spouse.

    Don't worry about the eating thing- when they're hungry, they'll eat. I promise :)

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  20. I know he's super busy but I would be so interested in even an occasional guest blog post from your husby. Glamma too!

    Also, you're killing me with the lack of Love Story posts. You post a few at a time and I get SO CAUGHT UP and then cliffhangers....for months.

    I mean, obviously I know how the story ENDS but it's such a great story I want to hear it all :) :)

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  21. My hubby and I are a perfect balance! He is the disciplinarian, but nor am I a push over. I am the one who spends most of the time with our children, so I do a lot of the day to day stuff. When it comes to the serious issues, he deals with those. He is my coach. I was the oldest of 5, so sometimes, I act more like a big sister. He reminds me that I'm the adult, and that I can handle things in a mature way. We women can be too emotional. I think men do a better job at remaining calm. They are our ROCKS! I love my husband! He is perfect for me, and he is the BEST dad!!

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  22. This was wonderful! I can completely relate: when I want to waver (or laugh hysterically in my daughter's face because the thing that got her into trouble is too darn funny), my husband swoops in with the right words, tone, and action. When she defies me (a new, fun adventure), he speaks firmly and she obeys...or he picks her up, moves her in the right direction and says, "Obey right away." She doesn't know what that means now (at 18 months old)...but she will.

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  23. Hubby and I take turns. When I am weak he is strong and vice versa. I have my moments where I lose my cool and he's the calm one and other times it is reversed. I am mostly the Disciplinarian and yet when hubby assumes that role I think he comes down harder than I would. I'm trying to be more of a softie.

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  24. I'm the disciplinarian--my husband travels 50-75% of the time for work and we would have serious problems if the softie was left in charge unattended for that long!

    On the food thing, Levi is hitting that point in development where he's just not physically growing at such a fast rate as he was for the first two years of his life. There will be times when he doesn't eat very much and that's fine; your job as a parent is to put out three well-balanced meals a day, healthy snacks and that's it. He can eat what he chooses to eat. Not only is he not needing as much nutrition, but he's exercising some independence in choices and that's fine too--my kids don't have to eat anything, but if they want seconds of anything they have to clear their plate. Thus, if they're really hungry they'll eat the veggies!

    Also, at this age they start to form patterns as far as how and when they eat. My little guy pretty much eats straight through from breakfast until around 3pm and almost never eats more than 2-3 bites of dinner. If I offered him his favorites, then yes, he would eat more, but he really doesn't need it (especially given the three yogurts, two cheese sticks, the orange and ham sandwich that he ate during the afternoon as "snacks"). It did bother me at first, but he's healthy, growing, and it just isn't worth making it an issue if in the other meals he eats well and I'm offering healthy snacks.

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  25. We don't have kids yet, but I figure I'll be the disciplinarian. I'm a teacher and am around kids a lot so I do have certain expectations for behavior. I do think it will be interesting to see how we will interact as parents and exactly what our individual roles will be when kids arrive.

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  26. My husband and I have only been married a year, so we're no where near ready for children as yet, but I know when the time comes I'll be the softie. I can hardly bear to scold our puppy, let alone a child.

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  27. Love this post! It is so true to follow the roles that the Lord has put in front of you...I have found with my husband and I we have different roles per child (we have four)based on each of their personalities and how they each deal with discipline and correction differently. My husband and I definitely rely on prayer with the approach of each of our children especially on the trying days :) Sounds like you have a great partnership!

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  28. I'm definitely the disciplinarian. But, we have a little girl and I think Daddy's and their little girls have a different relationship. I find that discipline, for me, is just matter of fact. I don't take things personal. I'm very much like you're husband in the "what's for dinner is for dinner, if you don't like it, that's completely fine... you absolutely don't have to eat it, but that's what's for dinner." And, I've also been known to turn the TV up a notch to drown out the sounds of pouting. I've also been known to stand outside my daughter's room in tears listening to her cry inside her room and knowing I couldn't go in there to "save the day". So, like everything, it's always a balance.

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  29. I'm a teacher, and I'm the disciplinarian in the classroom. But at home... It's a different story.
    At home I'm the softie.
    I don't have any kid yet, but I'm the softie with our pet, and my husband the disciplinarian. haha!

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May the Lord bless you and keep you safe today! Thanks for the comment, friends! :)

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