Monday, March 15, 2010



Thank you for the comments on the post, Dad’s Two Hand’s #1. They were interesting. In case you haven’t read the post, I posed the question of whether dad should be made the bad guy in disciplining the children. Moms will occasionally tell their misbehaving children, "If you don’t knock it off I’m going to tell your dad when he gets home." My mom did it; my wife did it some. Is this fair?

I think so.

Parenting is ideally a two-person job, mom and dad. Each has strengths they bring to the task. Generally (not always, but most often), dad is the sterner of the two. When the children get overly rambunctious, or downright disobedient and rebellious, the tougher presence of dad may be better suited to stem the tide of their misbehavior. So, yes, I think it is ok for mom to tell the children, "I’m reporting this to your dad."

However, I think this parenting move can be pulled off in a manner that leaves mom in the driver’s seat, and enhances the children’s perception of her authority in the home.

Instead of just saying, "I’m going to tell your father when he gets home," mom can say, "Ok, you have disobeyed. For that you are going to be punished (then announce the punishment you think appropriate). And you are going to tell your father when he gets home."

This accomplishes three things.
One, mom maintains her role as an authority figure in her own right.

Two, the children will have to respect and honor mom’s authority role.

Three, dad still gets to be something of the "bad guy" in more of a supportive role. When dad hears about the misbehavior of the children, either from mom or the children, he reinforces mom’s decision and position by affirming the punishment she administered, or even adding to it some. So he supports mom and communicates to the children that mom’s voice rules. Mom and dad have cemented their position.

By the way, have you wondered where I got the title to these two posts, "Daddy’s Two Hands?" From Holly Dunn’s song:

Daddy's hands were soft and kind when I was cryiń
Daddy's hands, were hard as steel when I'd done wrong.
Daddy's hands, weren't always gentle
But I've come to understand.
There was always love in Daddy's hands.

If done appropriately, kids can see that their dad has two hands, one hard and one gentle, and that is ok.

Warren Baldwin


Warren Baldwin said...

Thank you also for your prayers for Kristin. She seems to be doing better. She does not have Mitral Valve Prolapse and apparently just a mild case of Premature Ventricular Contracts (electrical). Just knowing it is not a serious heart problem alleviates much of her concern (and ours!). Doctors think she has vasovagal syncope, a condition where the blood vessels do not transport the blood up her legs properly. She could outgrow it.

Edie said...

It's good to hear a man's perspective on this topic Warren. I'm in complete agreement.

I love that song, and for that very verse too. It has always reminded me of my Daddy. I honestly don't remember a time when he actually used those hands to discipline me, the tone of his voice was powerful enough to accomplish his purpose, but the message in that verse couldn't be expressed better. I had a lot of respect for my Daddy.

Very good post!

Edie said...

I'm glad to hear that Kristin is doing better and the condition isn't as serious as it could have been. Will pray that she out grows it.

Kelly Combs said...

I've heard that song, and it is a good one. So was this post!

Stacy Wittkamp said...

Your solution is the best of "both of both worlds" so to speak. Great thoughts! I think I approach this differently because I was a single parent for many years. It doesn't occur to me to say "Wait to your father comes home." I err in the other direction, which is why I like how you phrased all of this.
Thanks Warren!

Warren Baldwin said...

Thanks Edie. And I like the song, too. My parents raised 3 boys and 1 girl, and his hands were used on the boys quite frequently. By necessity! (Mom's were, too).

Kelly, thanks.

Stacy, thanks. One reason I didn't think to mention why I think it is ok for mom to give the "when dad gets home" warning is so that mom doesn't have to bear the full burden. That is a tough, as you can testify to.