When is it legitimate to defy a spouse?


When it comes to issues of child rearing and discipline, under what circumstances would it be legitimate to defy the explicit directives of your spouse?


how about in the discussions that should PRECEED any “explicit directives”

Perhaps an example would make your question clearer?


O.K. When a child demonstrates anger towards mom in a very disrespectful way, and Mom wants the child prohibited from doing so, but Dad refuses to agree to discipline the child for such displays?

Or when one parent feels certain activities should get permission from both parents, and the child refuses top ask one. (Other parent does bring question to spouse, thereby acting as an intermediary)


If the child was, in your words, angry and disrespectful… discipline is mandatory… is Dad just unwisely permissive, or is the level of discipline itself in question?

If the child is taught that certain activities require both parents okay… I can’t agree with that. The child, I think, should be taught that either parent speaks for both parents…

The “out” you have is this: “Okay, you can do that until dinner time, if it is okay with mom too”. Then you are both exercising authority, and also showing respect for the spouse.

By the way.

The absolute greatest thing you can do for your child (after helping them toward heaven) is to love their mom. The effects on their future lives will be immeasurable.



Well the issue is teens here. And the two are related. One way they are showing disrespect of one parent by refusing to speak to that parent. So, snubbed parent feels that they should be forced to have to break their silence if they want permission to go places (innocent type places), other parent feels that is too coercive.


So, you are saying that one parent is not ever allowed to make decisions to let their teens go some place innocent and the other parent must always be brought into it to make the determination?


family counselling would be indicated in such a hypothetical situation. why bring the child into what is clearly a major conflict between the parents, who are using child-rearing methods as a battleground to act out their difference?



I am soon to become a Dad but already I am being faced with tuff resistance in how to bring up our future child. Mainly religion differences. I am Catholic and my dear wife is Protestant. Family counseling is an excellent idea but more importantly is prayer. Pray for your spouse, yourself and your kids so that the Lord may bring unity to your family!

The family that prays together stays together…I heard that somewhere.

Hope this helps…I will pray for you!




That was the slogan of the Rosary Hour, with Fr Peyton… back in the 50’s

A few years back, my Baptist son was wearing a t-shirt that had that slogan on it. I had to really smile… and when I told him the history of the slogan… well… I never saw that shirt again.


Thank you for instructing me.

I am sorry your son does not wear that t-shirt no more. I can relate to a similar situation when my wife sent out a couple of months ago an e-mail about a prayer being said. My mother got that e-mail and when she saw it she told me that was a catholic prayer recited by a nun many years ago. I thought it was interesting but decided not to inform my wife on the source of the prayer.




When my teens act like this (only it is mom and stepdad or dad and stepmom) my DH and I make a point of going out alone and discussing how we are going to handle it if we disagree on it at first. An example being: My step daughter is 11. She has no problem lying to me. It infuriates me because I would not accept this behavior from my own kids. An incident came up where I knew she was lying and my kids were telling the truth(I can tell when they are lying). My DH and I couldn’t believe how defiant she was about the whole thing so we told all the kids we would be back when we could agree on a punishment. They all thought they were going to get in trouble, but that is besides the point. We went out and decided that dad should administer the punishment after we ask her why she felt it was ok to lie.

She was openly defiant during the conversation with us but only towards me. DH told her that her behavior towards me was unacceptable and because of that her punishment would be doubled. Then he proceeded to tell her the punishment. Since that time, if she asks him for anything that I can answer he refers her to me for permission.

We don’t let our kids dictate how our household is run. In fact, if we think any of the kids is trying to get away with something by circumventing the authority of the other parent, they are told they have to go to the parent they are avoiding. This is especially important to establish in a step family IMHO.


situation one,
Dad is the disciplinarian, and if he isn’t he should be, and punish the child accordingly

situation two:
I discipline my child for asking his mom if i have said no, and vice versa…parents should always back each other up.

the child no ask or follow the rules laid down by parents, the child no get what it wants…PERIOD.

the biggest mistake you can make is not to be a team on this. you cannot let the child have any dellusions of granduer about whose rule is final.

Peace be to you


May I also suggest Dr. Ray?

Go to Ave Maria Radio web site, and you can link to Dr. Ray’s books, advice, etc. :thumbsup:


Refusing to talk is not exactly a disrespectful way of showing anger. I for one sometimes bite my lip and say nothing because I know that if I opened my mouth what would come out would be VERY disrespectful.

However, if there’s certain things that require the consult of the “other” parent, I certainly would not serve as an intermediary. If child needs to ask Mom, then child can go ask Mom themselves. I am not going to play go-between in their petty spats.

Child is then forced to make a decision. Speak to Mom and get permission. Or don’t get permission and don’t get to do whatever it is that you wanted.

But as for discipline, I don’t see the need to come down hard on a kid for not talking to his Mom. Usually it’s the other way around, I’m lowering the boom for the things they SAY.


Fr John Corapi told a story (often) about an incident that occured concerning St Pio (Padre Pio)

Fr. Pio often heard confessions a dozen hours a day or more. One day a lady came to him to confess. He took one look at the woman and jumped up and walked out of the confessional.

The woman followed, explaining that she wanted to go to confession and asked what was wrong.

St Pio exclaimed that “When I saw you , I saw the souls of your 3 dead children… all in hell… because of YOUR permissiveness.”

Parents… be the parent



None. You two are partners. As posted before, these types of things need a discussion previous, or an amendment afterward.

There shouldn’t be a situation where a child can play “one against another” with you or your wife. They should know that if one of you says “no”… it’s NO, or, they (the child) can arrange a “sit down” and plead their case to the contrary.


are the two parents in question, married? (it makes a difference) i have friends who are divorced, and have completely different parenting styles, and neither consult the other, because…well, they are divorced. the kids grow up with a ton of mixed messages…

so…that’s why i ask. if the two parents in question are married, i tend to defer to my husband’s requests/rules for the kids. i am very lenient, and let them do a lot of what they choose…i am strict about homework, etc…but there are other things, i’m lax on (bed times, chores, etc…) so, again i defer to him.:o


The “snubbed” parent should be examining his own conduct to figure out what makes his children reluctant to come to him. I’ve known some fathers who felt snubbed in this way and blamed it on the mother “interfering”, but the father would have been a lot better off trying to soften his own authoritarian, explosive behavior. I don’t mean to say that’s what is going on in this situation–obviously I don’t know what is going on. But it might be worth a thought.


No, “authoritarian, explosive behavior” is not an issue. However, it has long been the case, that rules are only enforced by the one parent. Kids have come to see this as meanness rather normal discipline. They definitely have a "good parent, bad parent thing going on.


I think this has less to do with one spouse defying the other one than it has more to do with you and your wife being on the same page and giving your children a clear and consistent message about what your expectations are. In theory, it shouldn’t matter which parent your kids ask. They should be getting the same answer.

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