Being on the same page as adoptive parents

Why you and your spouse need to use the same discipline methods

By Sandra Lundberg

It is very likely that your once-stable home and family has been turned upside down during the process of adoption. You long for things to be as they once were. You also long for the desire of your heart to be met in loving, nurturing and sacrificing for your new child and having her love you in return. I submit for your consideration that you will be able to experience love given and love returned much sooner if you and your spouse take steps together to work toward your child's healing.

Just as you pursued adoption together, it is very important that you both commit to nurturing and disciplining your child using the same methods. If you are divided about what techniques to use, your child (or children) will perceive a crack in the unity between Mom and Dad and will find a way to exploit it.

You may have noticed your child giving Mom a harder time than Dad. This is especially true if Mom is the one providing the majority of the child's care. When faced with this situation, parents may disagree about how the child behaves and what needs to be done about it. However, it is vital that Mom and Dad work through these feelings together and find common ground. Having a united front and reinforcing each other's decisions is essential in successfully nurturing and disciplining your children. Those who fail to do this will, along with their children, suffer negative consequences. The worst consequences are: 

  1. sacrificing the primacy of the marriage and 
  2. delaying the child's progress to healing.

God has blessed you with this child through adoption. Now you must work together to bless this child by being the parents he so desperately needs.

A final thought

As you seek to discipline your adopted child in creative ways, keep in mind that the goal is rarely to win this particular battle (though that may be important at certain times). Instead, the ultimate objective is to help your child grow in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and men (Luke 2:52).

Never forget that when the Bible addresses the responsibility that parents have to discipline their children, "nurture" comes before "the admonition of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4 KJV). Disciplining with your child's heart needs in mind will bring him or her to a place of wholeness where he or she can truly obey you – and God – from a healthy heart, soul and mind.

First article in series: Disciplining adopted children