Marital Disagreements

My wife and I don’t always agree on things, yet we hear that a unified front is so important when it comes to raising children. What do you do when you and your wife disagree about how to raise your kids?

Our Daddy MD Guide’s reply: Unfortunately, raising children is often not a black-and-white, cut-and-dry situation. My own children would agree, as their motherand I have certainly experienced a bit of this turmoil in our own child-rearing experiences. Considering this, I believe the concept of a unified front is overstated. Your children are smarter than you think, and the world around them is often divided into many camps of opinions. No child, after a certain point (perhaps younger than you think), is naïve enough to believe that everyone always agrees. More so, as products of the two of you, they are quickly able to discern dissention in the house.

The best things you can actually do then is to honestly and openly present differing viewpoints (if you have them) at the same time maintaining respect for each other. This will ultimately help your children fend for themselves and make important decisions, by modeling behavior that is conducive to careful consideration of many thoughts. Eventually they will have their own opinions, and here then is your next opportunity to consider them just as seriously and with unwavering regard for the inherent integrity and value of the individuals that they are. It’s not always easy, but we have achieved a measure of success in our household by following this approach with our own children.

Michael B. Finkelstein, MD, a dad of 20-, 16-, and 13-year-old children, a board-certified physician in internal medicine and integrative-holistic medicine, and the founder and director of SunRaven, a Center for Holistic and Skillful Living, in Bedford, NY