web analytics
August 2, 2015 / 17 Av, 5775
At a Glance
Sponsored Post

On The Same Page (Part I)


When verbalized in connection with parenting, the idiomatic expression, on the same page, at times, is misunderstood. Some people believe the term implies total agreement where one of the spouses gives up his/her right to disagree on an opinion, decision or direction s/he wishes to follow.  In truth, while “agreement” is definitely implied, the undercurrent is one of a supportive nature.

The connotation is that both parents are a team, and they are one voice in seeking a resolution and course of action they plan to take. Taking the term one step further, differences of opinion are not processed in the purview of the children and when a decision cannot be reached, an objective third party will be consulted (most often, this translates into professional guidance).

When parents are on the same page, generally speaking, there is a better opportunity for the development of family harmony, a peaceful home environment and a more effective parent-child relationship. What happens, though, when parents are not on the same page? And how is that issue further compounded when a struggling child is in the midst of the family dynamic?

In this two-part article, Carol (name changed for confidentiality purposes) will share with us some of her experiences. She will discuss what it is like in attempting to parent effectively while her spouse demonstrates no interest in joining her on the same page.

Disappointed, discouraged and exasperated, Carol diligently works at implementing many of the newer parenting tools she gained from her coaching sessions. Unfortunately, she is well aware that her husband’s attitude and behaviors often compromise her efforts. In the final analysis, she is left, almost always, employing damage control among “all” her children, not only the struggling one.

How seemingly unfair! Not only must she contend with a struggling child, she is also overwhelmed with additional challenges, the source of which is her husband. To quote her: “In many ways they’re both acting the same way; I feel like I’m dealing with two children!”

During one of our coaching sessions, Carol indicated she would like to share with her husband what is on her mind; but she cannot, at least not now. “I have no doubt he would be resistant to my words. He would probably turn them around and blame me once again. I’ve had enough of that game; I’m no longer interested in following that path. And since he won’t seek help for himself, it’s in my best interest to keep my thoughts to myself.”   As a way to get her feelings out in the open, I suggested to Carol that she write down her thoughts in the same manner in which she would speak to her husband. She did, and she found the exercise to be healing. She also requested that I share them with the readership. And her reasoning was admirable: “If one parent reads my words and will gain an understanding of the necessity to become educated and partner with his/her spouse as a team, it would be well worth experiencing all my pain and suffering.”

The following are Carol’s innermost thoughts to her husband:

Think back, my dear husband, to the earlier part of our marriage. We waited a long time to become a family and we were both the favorite aunt and uncle of our nieces and nephews. We adored them and they adored us.

We couldn’t wait to have our own and then, we did.

You loved to play with our son. You wanted to be the father to him that your father was not to you. You played ball with him. You explored the magic of electronics. You loved taking him to shul with you. You loved filming him.

He grew up and when he was two, he said that two-letter word, “no.” You couldn’t take it! “How could ‘my’ child defy me?”  It was very hard for you and slowly you withdrew. Your son wasn’t the son you had hoped for. Instead of understanding where this “no” was coming from, you chose to blame me. It was my fault; I wasn’t bringing him up properly.

So began your crusade. You blamed. You had everything so neatly worked out. You couldn’t understand how a wife could devote so much time to her kids – mind you – instead of working and bringing in money. You felt if you were working so many hours and traveling and I was working so few hours and not traveling, I should be doing a perfect job. After all, isn’t that why I wasn’t working?

You had – and still have – such a black and white view of things: a cause and effect world, a world governed by logic and facts. There are no gray areas with you, no thinking out of the box. When we saw that our son struggled in academics, it was easy to blame me. After all, I’m home with the kids, I should be doing homework. Obviously I’m not. What’s so hard to do homework with a seven-year-old? By now there were other kids and you couldn’t understand what was so hard. The years went by. The rest of the kids did well academically. It became harder and harder for our oldest as, one by one, the little ones overtook him. You despised him in every which way and he couldn’t do anything right in your eyes. The put-downs went on for many years and they got worse and worse.

Then the day came that our son grew up. His friends beckoned him and he withdrew more and more.

Today he no longer is afraid of you. You can’t hurt him. He is bigger than you. However, he is afraid of failing and he is frozen in a state of limbo. When he does attempt to do anything, he makes sure to sabotage it because the pain of waiting for it to fail is harder than when it finally does fail. You don’t see your role here, and again you blame me.

I was lucky, or better yet, Hashem rewarded me for trying so hard to help my child. I began learning from a professional coach, one who works with parents of troubled teens. It was a lifeline!  In the beginning I would call her for every little thing. Slowly, I became educated and saw results. What a treat it was for me! I tried to include you but you were not interested in anything I said. In fact, you made a point of criticizing me and ‘my methods.’ You sabotaged a lot and so it was difficult for me to parent effectively. Instead of helping our children learn from their errors, more often than not, my focus was on compensating for your harshness.

If the purpose of life is to grow, learn and move on, then you have failed. You haven’t learned from anything because you are consistently blaming. At this point, you have lost the respect of the children, and my respect toward you is slowly waning, although I keep working on myself. I still have to prompt the children to say the right things. When they leave the house, I softly whisper in their ear to say goodbye to you.

You waited so long to get married and to have your own family. And once the family came along, you did not appreciate each child’s uniqueness. Instead of understanding your children’s challenges and how you could help them grow, you concentrated more on your needs and what your children weren’t doing to satisfy those needs.

My heart bleeds for you.

In Part II, Carol will share with the readership how she resolves her dilemma. She explains how a mother can still move forward with effective parenting tools despite the fact that her husband is not on the same page with her. Carol realizes her resolution is not ideal. As a matter of fact, under the circumstances and having in mind the reality of her situation, she acknowledges that her approach is more about coping. And it is all she could do to survive the moment.

To be continued

Debbie Brown is a certified life coach specializing in parent coaching. She is available for private, confidential phone coaching sessions as well as lectures and group workshops. For further information or to express feelings regarding the Parental Perspective topic, Debbie may be contacted at lovetoughcoach@aol.com.

About the Author:

If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “On The Same Page (Part I)”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Thousands of Israelis at an anti-violence and anti-homophobia rally in Tel Aviv Saturday night.
Rally against Violence Bars Religious MKs and Boos Right-Winger
Latest Sections Stories

We studied his seforim together, we listened to famous cantorial masters and we spoke of his illustrious yichus, his pedigree, dating back to the famous commentator, Rashi.


Jews who were considered, but not ultimately selected, include Woody Allen, Saul Bellow, David Ben-Gurion, Marc Chagall, Anne Frank, and Barbra Streisand.

Personally I wish that I had a mother like my wife.

What’s the difference between the first and second ten-year-old?

What makes this diary so historically significant is that it is not just the private memoir of Dr. Seidman. Rather, it is a reflection of the suffering of Klal Yisrael at that time.

Rabbi Lau is a world class speaker. When he relates stories, even concentration camp stories, the audience is mesmerized. As we would soon discover, he is in the movie as well.

Each essay, some adapted from lectures Furst prepared for live audiences, begins with several basic questions around a key topic.

For the last several years, four Jewish schools in the Baltimore Jewish community have been expelling students who have not received their vaccinations.

“We can’t wait for session II to begin” said camp director Mrs. Judy Neufeld.

More Articles from Debbie Brown

Having parented a struggling adolescent for several years, Yael was expecting that life would be different for her now twenty-year old son. She was, and still is, an excellent student, diligently applying the tools she has been gaining in our coaching sessions. Harmony and peace has returned to her home, and the relationship (with her son) she was working on mending has become a reality. Admittedly, she attributes the restored relationship to a parenting methodology she has undertaken — the love-tough approach.


Toxic Language Tishrei — and the yom tov pattern returns! Of which pattern am I speaking, you ask? If we were to identify the main aspects of each of the holidays during this month, generally speaking, and in rather simplistic behavioral terms, the pattern of the night and following day might look something along the […]

Recently, I asked a family friend, a financial advisor, to share with me his perspective on the importance of rapport in the world of sales. In a general way, I knew that successful salespeople maintain good rapport with their clients. And so I was curious. Was the need for developing rapport in business any different than doing so in a parent-child relationship? To that end, I posed the following questions: “How do you establish rapport with a new client? And what do you believe is a key issue to creating rapport?

A political figure refuses to comment on a current news story in which he is involved.. In the hope of avoiding a scuffle with her parents, a teenager, who has broken curfew, quietly opens up the front door. As she makes a mad dash to her room, she tries to avoid being noticed and questioned. In both situations, a lack of communication may be perceived as failure on the part of the individual to take responsibility for his/her actions, and/or an admission of guilt. In such cases when the person does not say yes, the message being conveyed to others can be perceived as noby default, and vice versa.

The Meaning of The Communication Is The Response It Elicits

In most homes, as women prepare to join the Seder (hopefully, somewhat rested), the anticipatory anxiety associated with the “P” word (pre-Pesach angst) is no longer. The cleaning, preparations, shopping and cooking are now a thing of the past. And finally, the Hagaddah’s legacy of yetzias Mitzrayim (exodus from Egypt) takes front stage.

What does it mean to be validated? In what areas of life can one expect to be validated? What attitude, behaviors or actions convey a message (or feeling) to someone that s/he is being validated? How does one validate, or invalidate? What benefits are there to validating and being validated – in the short term as well as long term?

In the first two parts of this four-part series, we discussed the need to validate someone who is mourning the loss of a loved one. Utilizing a Rabbinic illustration, we presented the story of Rav Yochanan ben Zakai when he sat shivah for his son. The focus was on his receiving consolation: why he received comfort from his one student, Rav Elazer ben Aruch, and not from his other four students. Now let us move to a Biblical backdrop as we continue.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/parenting-our-children/on-the-same-page-part-i/2008/10/29/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: