By Guest Blogger, Monika Hoyt
Some days I find parenting hard. I get tired, stressed, feel guilty, and second-guess myself.
Then to top it off, there is the added pressure to keep my marriage in good shape, not only support our individual parenting, but also to model healthy ways of being with our partner.
I’ve been accused of being hard on myself, but the pressure is real: The investments we make into our relationship are nothing less than acts of parenting. How we behave with our partners makes a big difference to our kids, even if they aren’t directly involved in the interactions at all. Our kids are always watching, learning, and modeling as they figure out the world. The dynamic between their two favorite people is a big part of that process.
So being conscious of our impact and treating our relationship as the template of our children’s future relationships is key. What kind of relationships do I want them to have? I must model that for them now.
And this isn’t always easy!
But the good news is that there are four golden rules that, if followed, can pretty much guarantee you are doing a great job and setting a healthy foundation for your kids.
When I have hard days, I come back to these and they really work!
4 ways to leverage your relationship in parenting:
- Love each other in their presence. Let your children see positive interactions, respectful communications, expressions of fondness and admiration. This will be what they expect for themselves later on.
- Model conflict resolution. Demonstrate to your children that you can disagree respectfully. Let them see a disagreement AND it’s successful resolution. This includes modeling the act of taking responsibility and apologizing if necessary.
- Be a unified front with discipline. Even if you disagree with your partner about something, discuss it in private. Avoid letting your kids see you arguing about how to handle them. This causes splitting and also makes your kids feel unduly responsible for family dynamics. Being unified in front of your children communicates clarity and safety.
- Make time for each other separate from the kids. Make date nights, and make a rule to not talk about kids or household issues. Then you can reconnect on a whole other level that will positively impact your parenting later. The closeness you feel will carry over.
Now granted, these steps are easier said than done. We can know what to do, but still have a hard time doing it.
If you find yourself unable to implement these steps, make sure you become aware of any limiting beliefs that hold you back, and clear those out as soon as possible. For help see these free videos on How to Rewrite Limiting Beliefs to support your relationship.
Then, set your intention and make it a priority. If you have to schedule parenting meetings with your partner to get on the same page, then by all means do. Put it on the calendar! Then you will be less likely to “leak” unresolved issues in front of the children.
Good luck and never give up!