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Jennifer, School Psychologist
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 397
Experience:  Collaborative parent consultation on everything from modifying behavior to child development.
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is it ok for one parent to speak to a child regarding discipline

Resolved Question:

is it ok for one parent to speak to a child regarding discipline or providing guidance without the other parent being present?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  Jennifer replied 6 years ago.
Hello and thanks for using!

It's perfectly fine for either parent to make disciplinary decisions provided you're on the same page as far as a consistent approach. That way there is no discrepancy between how you typically handle misbehavior when the child is alone with mom or dad. There are many strategies that parents employ (time outs, removing privileges, assigning chores as consequences, using a rewards system such as a behavioral star chart, etc.). If you haven't discussed the basic "how should we handle (fill in the main behavioral concern)" then I'd suggest you start there. There are several popular theories out there (Love & Logic, 1-2-3 Magic, etc.) that you can look into to see if any of their recommendations might work for you. Ultimately, though, you're the experts on your kids and your family. Pick and choose the ideas you like and see what your child responds best to. I, personally, am a Love & Logic fan. The website ( has several free articles and videos for parents. I recommend it often to the parents and teachers I work with and use a lot of the lingo with my own daughter. The key, though, is consistency. She knows that the rules won't change when she's with Dad and we have an understanding that we'll support one another's disciplinary decisions when we're not together. This, of course, doesn't mean we always agree!!! It's important as parents to be united when we're in front of the child. If we disagree, that's a conversation to have later. I wish you the best of luck and please let me know if you have any other questions related to this matter.
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