Parenting Conflict? Make Sure Your Kid Wins

father and daughter playing video games

Both parents like being right about parenting. But in the end, make sure your kid wins.

Now the little boy is a six-foot-tall teenager who certainly doesn't need tucking in. But he still invites his dad into his room just before he nods off, and toddler tuck-ins have morphed into teenage-father talks. Score one for Frank. But really, it's the boy who's won.

Our youngest son, now 12, is a sometime sleep-walker, a habit he first displayed at the age of 3, during a bout with a high fever. Frank refused to believe it was real sleep walking, insisting the child was just having a bad dream. He thought it would pass once the fever fell. It didn't. Intuitively, I knew the pattern was there to stay, so I sprang into action. I began jerry-rigging ways that would alarm us when he was up—hanging bells from the kids' doorknob, leaving our bedroom door wide open and a light on in the hall and, finally, against my husband's protests, unpacking the baby monitor from the attic and secreting it behind some books in the boy's bedroom.

Frank thought I was daft, but that was easy for him to say when he routinely slept through the child's meanderings, and I was the one guiding him back to bed at 3 a.m., a task that got more challenging as he gained height and heft. Since the monitor went live, we now both hear when our son rouses and wanders, and Frank can no longer deny that it's real.

I guess I won that one but, again, I think the kid comes out ahead in the end.