Communication skills for parents - The Same Page Technique

Sometimes, it’s Mum and Dad who need to think about where they could be going wrong. The Same Page Technique is used on the Supernanny show to open communication between parents, get you thinking about what you each do right, and acknowledge where you could work together.

Before you had children, how often did you and your partner need to work together as a team or take turns in supporting one other? Answer this and you’ll probably have the reason why so many couples disagree over family matters and why we sometimes don’t see that a joint approach is needed.

The  Same Page Technique is a way to open up communication between parents, get you thinking about what you each do right, and acknowledge where you could step up to the plate and work together.


Communication between parents may break down for many reasons, but the most common is when one of you feels overburdened. This may be due to work commitments or routine, not just because you’re living with a lazy partner! When every attempt to talk descends into bickering, you need to take time out to work with your partner and find a way forward.

Sit down with your partner once the children have gone to bed to discuss what you admire about each other’s approach to the family and what you’d like to see changed. If you feel self-conscious, write points on paper and hand them to each other to read.

Agree on what the problems are in your family. If it’s a specific issue, such as disciplining the children, what ideas do you have about how you to address it? Discuss some rules you could put in place and make sure you’re both committed to them.

What else might help?

To share the house chores, you could also use the Step Up/ Step Back Technique. This is a simple exercise where all the household chores are written on slips of paper and put in a large box, and Mum and Dad mark which they are responsible for. If it seems one has an unfair load, the other should step up and take some of these responsibilities on board. If the kids are getting away scot free, try the Shared Chore Technique so they can begin to take some weight off Mum and Dad’s shoulders.

You can’t work as a team if you and your partner still seem to be going over the same old problems again and again.Try putting a clock between you and giving yourselves a set time - say 20 minutes - to write down both sides of the story and find a solution (even if the solution is that you must agree to disagree!).

Related links

  • TV Clip - Same Page Technique: Supernanny’s techniques get Mum and Dad working from the same page and help the family develop a good bedtime routine…
  • Resolving Your Discipline Differences: Relationship Counsellor Paula Hall from Relate has these practical tips for moving on from the one thing you and your partner may never agree about.
  • House Rules: As used on Supernanny, families use house rules to set out what behaviour is acceptable in their household, and what behaviour is not.
  • Shared Chore Technique: This technique aims to discourage sibling rivalry by showing the kids they can get along together (sometimes!)…
  • Family Routine: As seen on the Supernanny show, setting up a Family Routine may help your family use time more effectively.
  • TV Clip - the Naughty Step: Billy was so badly behaved, his parents were sceptical that this discipline technique would work at all. But, within no time, Billy learns to sit on the step for the full two minutes.

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