Two universal truths: (1) Children are needy. (2) Parents get tired.
The most confident, satisfied parents seem to have found the way to deal with the two universal truths revealed above. When parents work as a team, anticipating the needs of the other, they offer their children consistency and they form a closer bond with each other. It’s a win-win situation, but how do you get to that place? How do you, as a dad, establish yourself as a partner in parenting?
- Stay informed. Though mom may have it all under control, you need to be “in the loop.” Find out what disciplinary actions have been taken while you were away. What’s the back story? It is imperative that you and mom work together to raise your child. You need to know what has happened in the day, good and bad, so that any transfer of responsibility is seamless. Children know when we are uninformed and they use it to their advantage. You can count on that. So, if you are not told what has happened, please ask. Your competence depends on it.
- Consistency is key. Your words mean more than you will ever know. You may not have had quite as much experience with children as mom has, but your words of comfort, support, love, and pride will stay with your child forever. Talk to your parenting partner and decide ahead of time what “the answer” will be when either or both of you are confronted with a question. Choose your words carefully, for they carry with them the self-esteem that your child will draw upon as he or she grows. Don’t underestimate the power of your words. What you say does matter.
Tag-team parenting means that you know what’s happening in the family and you are ready to step-in and take over when your partner needs a break. When children know that they can count on both parents equally, then you are well on your way to creating an atmosphere of trust and respect in your home. That’s good parenting.