Couples Clinic: Be a Parenting Team
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Couples Clinic: Be a Parenting Team

Try this exercise to build a stronger parenting partnership.

Do you and your husband disagree on how to discipline your kids? It's a very common problem, but not having a united front can only confuse and frustrate your children. They need consistency and order so they can understand the rules and the consequences of breaking them.

Patricia Dunn Horn, LCPC, a counselor in Alton, Illinois, suggests the following exercise so you and your husband can act as a better parenting team:

Set a kitchen timer for three minutes. One of you uses the allotted time to speak your mind about an area of contention, perhaps deciding on fair ways to punish a child for an offense such as not cleaning her room or not doing his homework. The other person agrees to listen and not interrupt.

Once the bell goes off, set the timer again for another three minutes. The person who was listening last time uses the time to recap what he or she heard and to express his or her own opinion. Next, put the timer aside and combine your ideas. Do you see eye to eye? If not, where can you compromise? Continue until you settle on a mutually agreeable plan of action. Taking the time to talk out your disciplining differences in this way will help you be better parents -- and even bring you closer as a couple.