PARENTS NEED TO AGREE ON HOW TO RAISE THEIR CHILDREN
Rob Pascale & Lou Primavera
In an earlier article, “Married with Kids,” we talked about how the introduction of children into the home can wreak havoc on some marriages. These problems often result from work overload—their lives are no longer just about managing the house, or jobs, or making each other happy. The responsibilities that are dumped on new parents can mean that both, but especially wives (since they shoulder most of the burden), are perpetually stressed
, exhausted, and pushed to their limits.
For those who are hit particularly hard, their relationship can suffer not just because of less time devoted to each other. When under chronic stress, there’s a strong possibility that partners will at times let their emotions get the better of them and they will then take their frustrations out on each other. There may also be disappointments that derive from unmet expectations. Expectations have a lot to do with adjusting to parenthood, and the more partners are off with regard to how they thought things would be, the greater is the likelihood of resentments and conflicts.
Problems can also result from differences in parenting philosophies. In some marriages, one parent may prefer to take a relaxed attitude while the other may want to institute more structure and rules for the child to follow. When parents bump heads on how to raise their children, not only do they give themselves reasons to argue, but they also work against the interests of the child. Sometimes in these situations one parent may try to gain the child as an ally against the other parent. The child may then feel forced to take sides with one parent or the other, or become confused as to what they’re supposed to do. The parent who loses that power struggle can feel alienated from the family, and may resent their partner or the children.
WHY INSECURE PEOPLE STRUGGLE WITH VULNERABILITY
As we’ve seen on this site, vulnerable communication is the solution for finding a healthy relationship and happy life. At a glance, most treat vulnerability as if it is something every person can do. Many believe that if the person sets their mind to it, they can get their needs met in a healthy manner. Unfortunately, this is only the case for secure individuals.
Secure individuals are capable of expressing themselves and regulating their emotions because they believe they are worthy of love and affection. They expect their partners to be responsive and caring. It’s easy to see that having such beliefs can lead on to not become overwhelmed as easily. Secure individuals have no issue communicating their needs to their significant other.
The problem is that insecure people -my previous self included- struggle to get in touch with what is really bothering them. Once the emotional floodgates open, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. These can create irrational thoughts, which can end in a person lashing out.
HOW NEW PARENTS KEEP THEIR LOVE ALIVE AND WELL
You know the times in life when things just don’t feel good? When you see one of those uplifting t-shirts that says, “Life is Good,” and you think, “Not mine, today is hard and I don’t like it.”
The Bringing Baby Home Workshop helps parents to prepare for those days. Like it or not, life as a parent is not always baby snuggles and Instagram moments. As a facilitator of this evidence-based workshop, I have the privilege of witnessing couples see each other in a new way, a way that is more clear and authentic than before. When that happens, couples intentionally take in more of that beautiful view, and they savor it.
I want to share some relationship enhancing strategies that parents learn in the Bringing Baby Home Workshop. These ideas are not unique to parents; all relationships thrive with a solid foundation and continued investment.
POSITIVE PARENTING: ACCEPT FEELINGS, LIMIT ACTIONS
Over the years of moderating a popular parenting page on Facebook, I have had the opportunity to listen to many parents voice their concerns about changing their parenting paradigms to peaceful, positive parenting. One of the major goals of positive parenting is to raise emotionally intelligent children, and this is because research has shown that children with high emotional intelligence are less defiant, mentally healthier, and more successful both academically and in relationships.
Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand, evaluate, and regulate emotions. In our quest to raise emotionally intelligent children, positive parents understand the importance of accepting a child’s feelings. A common misconception is that accepting all feelings means accepting all actions resulting from those feelings, leading to an unruly and disrespectful or spoiled and coddled child.
Feelings are neither right nor wrong. They simply are what they are. We feel what we feel. What we do with those feelings, though, is extremely important, and that is a large part of emotional intelligence. It’s not about just understanding and accepting feelings but also teaching children appropriate actions around those feelings.
THE JOYS (AND TEARS) OF PARENTING MY ADULT CHILDREN
I watched as she stormed into the house. Peril, sheer peril, if you let her tell it.
She hadn’t noticed me reading, quietly in the corner, so she went about, slamming cabinets and drawers, then finally ending her assault on the kitchen by opening and staring into the fridge. I heard her mumble something about hating her job, her co-workers, her commute, and of course, her meager paycheck that she waited for each week. She was adorable.
I peered over my book and examined her. She was considered an average-sized person, about 5’7”, which was a giant to my 5’1” frame. She had these amazing, almond-shaped, bright brown eyes, which she was constantly complaining about the size and the color of, but to me and her father, they were gorgeous.
DISTRACTED WHILE PARENTING? HERE’S HOW TO BE MORE ATTENTIVE
Parenting is often described as one of the best and most stressful jobs that a person can take on. Becoming a parent is an incredible responsibility that comes with a new set of rules, and the need to constantly be “on.” So what happens when parents go from being “on” top of things to being distracted and “on” their phone maybe a little too often?
The term for this phenomenon is distracted parenting. You may not have heard this term before, but you’ve likely seen it in action. Here are some examples of distracted parenting:
- An entire family on their phones at a restaurant, not even making eye contact.
- At a playground, a child is misbehaving and would likely be corrected if their parent was not texting.
- At an event and one kid is running out of the door with no adult present and you think, “Where is the adult?”