John: Before my parents punished me for some wrongdoing, they would put forth real effort to understand my motive and the circumstances involved. I try to imitate their approach when dealing with my daughters. My wife, Alison, comes from a different background. Her mother and father were more impulsive. They seem to have chastised their children without being concerned about the circumstances surrounding an incident. Sometimes I feel that my wife disciplines our children in a similarly harsh manner.
Carol: My father deserted our family when I was just five years old. He showed no interest in my three siblings or me. My mom worked very hard to provide for us, and I shouldered a lot of responsibility in caring for my younger sisters. It was hard to enjoy being a kid when i Had to play the role of parent. To this day, I am more serious than playful. When my own children need discipline, I agonize over their mistakes. I like to know why something happened and what the thought process was. My husband Mark, by contrast, doesn't stew over matters. he was raised by a loving yet firm father, who loyally cared for his mother. With our girls, my husband is quick to resolve problems. He assesses a situation, deals with it, and then moves on.
As the comments of John and Carol show, your upbringing can exert a profound influence on the way you discipline your own children. When a husband and wife come from different family backgrounds, they are likely to have very different leanings when it comes to raining children. At times, these differences cause tension in a marriage.