I’ve often heard parents discussing the fact that, together with their spouse, they always present a united front to their children, whether or not they agree with their spouse. I admit this has always confounded me a bit. I want my children to be honest, both with themselves and with others, and to do what they feel is right, rather than feeling pressured into doing something. If I were to merely go along with my husband concerning an issue in order to present a united front, I would be modeling the exact opposite of that.
Going along with the other parent in order to present this united front is ultimately just another way of bullying – ganging up on a child to get him/her to do what you want. Generally speaking, when one parent is willing to compromise with the other in order to be united in the face of a child, there is usually a reciprocal expectation that when they want something from the child, the other parent will stand by them.
That doesn’t mean that I totally disregard my husband if I don’t agree with something he says. His feelings and needs are valid; I can acknowledge those, while helping my children to understand his viewpoint and helping him to understand their points of view. However, I don’t have to be inauthentic to myself or expect someone else to be inauthentic to themselves in order to acknowledge another person. The beauty of working together to find solutions is that everyone’s needs can be met without forcing anyone to be untrue to him/herself.