When Mom says yes and Dad says no

"We can't look like two heads as parents," says America's Supernanny Deborah Tillman. "It confuses the child." Here's how to fix this common parenting mistake.

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Video transcript

“So when parents disagree with one another, I always tell the parents to please try to communicate to get on the same page. If Dad says yes, and Mom says no, well Mom you might have to acquiesce. Or Dad, you might have to acquiesce. But before we reach the child, we have to have one face and one voice. We can’t look like two heads as parents. Because then it confuses the child and they don’t know who to listen to. Now, is that easier said than done? Yes, but you have to do it or else the child becomes confused, doesn’t know who to listen to, gets frustrated, and then starts doing little things like modeling your behavior. So say for example, one parent says no and the other parent says yes. Well, if the parent who said no doesn’t know that the parent who said yes is actually going to allow it to happen without communicating. That causes a rift. And then the child is sort of looking at the parents like you don’t communicate and then Mommy’s being dishonest because Daddy already said no but Mommy’s doing it. Don’t think that the child doesn’t see that. And so therefore that little bit of sneakiness, that little bit of stuff that we don’t want our children to have, they sort of take it in and they start acting it out. And then we get mad at them for acting it out. But we showed them the mirror. We showed them what we did by our own behavior. “

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