When You Disagree on Discipline

Relationship Coach Matt Townsend offers advice for those times when you disagree on discipline.

Don’t Assume You’re On the Same Page…Just Get on the Same Page

Negotiate the differences in private; the last thing kids need to see is how far apart you two are on something. Make a rule of talking about your differences in private and not in front of the kids.

Kids will divide and conquer, so you’re going to have to get closer together. Two heads on the same plane are better than one. Kids are less likely to do something that two parents don’t agree with.

One of the number one activities I do when I’m helping couples who are divorcing is getting on the same page and creating a united front.

Focus More On the Principles Not the Practices

Usually we’re more together on principle than practice. For example, both parents believe in their children getting adequate sleep, but they might disagree on the bed time. Maybe they want them to stay up later and get them up earlier. Focus on what you have in common not what separates you. Yellers versus no yellers can go on forever. What are the real principles behind the yelling? Discipline? Change? Once we begin to look at the actual principles behind the practices, we may see that our practices don’t actually align to our practices.

Draw a Bigger Circle of Options

Don’t argue out of ignorance, learn what you are missing. Most people out of ignorance turn their disagreements into dichotomies of either/or. Either we spank or we don’t. Don’t fall for that false choice, the reality is that there are numerous alternatives to spanking so the more options we have, based on the principles we’re trying to live, the better off our solutions will be. Increased options increase options.
Because of your lack of multiple choices, we tend to get more deeply entrenched in our positions. Figure out what really works. Gather data from the internet, books, or parenting programs.

Don’t just argue from your history or how you were raised. There are plenty of experts out there. Find one together that you trust and agree to follow their programs.

Circle Back & Tie Up the Loose Ends

Many couples create great plans and never really circle back. The best plans are made over time, not all at once. Make a plan and circle back regularly to adjust the plan and make sure it’s working for both of you. By circling back we ensure that we are going to fix problems regularly and not try to get it all done at once.

Matt Townsend is a national speaker and relationship expert who uses his unique gift of understanding relationships to help individuals, couples and families learn the skills they need to better relate. Through entertainment and humor he teaches life-changing principles and skills empowering couples to change by learning to communicate more effectively, to stop patterns of negative reactions, and to get to the heart of important issues.

For more couple advice from Matt, attend:

Date Night with Matt Townsend

Friday, March 12

7:00 pm to 9:00 pm

$20 per couple

Location: Noah’s in South Jordan

To register, call (801) 747-2121

For more information, visit:


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