This road of raising children/ teenagers seems to be a journey with no end. I look back on my journey as a mum, and I see that there were many challenges, lots of fun times; many times of uncertainty (walking in the unknown) and times of fear – being responsible for the life of another human being and hoping you are not making a big mess of it all.

I am amazed at how the journey, which felt like a mountainous race course, turned out WELL!!!!! (I am happy to say) and, we are still running the race.

This journey however, I could not have done on my own. I have done it with an amazing partner – my husband. We learnt during the process of bringing up our children to Stand Together, no matter the issues.  For each one of you, the one you Stand Together with could be a spouse, a special friend, grandparents, or someone important that walks along sides you on the journey of parenthood. That person is someone you stand in unity with and can be your helper through the good and bad times.

I look back with gratitude to God for been able to have raised our children together. I learnt and discovered during the process of raising them that it was vital for my husband and I to always Be United, I would probably place this Tip as one of my top three under the topic OF Five Things I Did To Raise Successful Teenagers. In the earlier days, before my children were teenagers, I would observe from close friends and family members (with children) that many of the issues they faced, issues of discord, and poor behaviour came out of the fact that the parents were not united. How can parents become united or Stand Together, as I call it?

Some of the few things my husband and I did were; backing each other up. This is important. As parents/carers you have to speak with one voice in your home, you both have to be in agreeance in front of your children. You can disagree or have different viewpoints (based on your backgrounds) but, just NOT in front of your children. You have to both be united on decisions you make and not allow for any discord between yourselves as parents. This was something we put into practice from when our children were small and it worked successfully. I remember on a few occasions when our eldest son wanted to go out, he would ask both of us separately to see if he would get a yes from one parent; but what would happen was we would check with each other and then give him the final decision together; because we stood together he learnt to not ask for permission from us separately.

We also backed each other up even when we did not totally agree, and then we would talk about what we disagreed on in private. I remember numerous occasions, (it usually been me not wanting a particular child to go out somewhere perhaps to a sleep over) but my husband would say yes they can go and I am in total dismay about the decision he has made, but I agree with him in public and disagree in private. What I found was standing together brought a consistency into our home. Our children in their teenage years knew that they could not play mum and dad off one another, this allowed our home to have an atmosphere of order, respect, calm, and kindness. We did not have arguments in our home with our teens, they may not have liked decisions that were made but they showed respect for them.

Standing Together means not undermining the decisions of your partner. I must admit I found this challenging as my husband and I do have different views, one area that pushed on this point was music. We are Christian and we raised our children on the values of the bible, so when our teenagers were coming up, I found that I was a little more liberal minded than my husband. This meant that there were many MANY times, my husband would support my decision of a certain type of music to be played in our home even when he did not like it. My reason for permitting this was because I always said I would prefer to know what they were listening to. For me, my area of challenge was in independent outings, I was not very kin on this, but a lot of times they would get a yes from their dad and I would support that decision. Another area that can pose difficulty and conflict is how to discipline your children; this can come with its challenges especially when you both have varying views on how to tackle it. I think in order to avoid this sort of issue before hand you need to establish set goals and agreements as to what to do in those types of circumstances. For instance, one of you may want to comfort a crying child but the other wants to let them cry out for their bad behaviour. If circumstances like these are discussed beforehand, conflict between partners can be avoided. Conflicts cannot be avoided all together but, having a previously discussed agreement ensures that you have each other’s backs and you remain united.

I end with a prayer:

LORD give us the ability and power to stand together united as a family, help us to always look to You for strength when facing challenges. Amen.