One of the most important relationships in your kids life is the relationship you have with your partner. It is critical that this relationship be maintained to model for your kids what a healthy relationship can be. The way parent’s treat each other can be as important as the way parents treat their children. Kids are paying attention when parents are yelling, belittling or sarcastically demeaning their partner. Kids start to learn that this is the way that adults, and more importantly, their parents, treat each other. This can have a long lasting impact on how kids will treat their partners.
What is important is not to add more pressure to the already difficult process of building a family but to know where to prioritize your energy. For many of us that energy goes mostly to our children. This is usually correct but we also need to leave some for our partner. When parents start to lose the deep connection they once felt for each other they begin to focus on their kids. This can be a way of disconnecting from each other.
The key is to start early in the family development stage. The earlier we prioritize the partnership between the two caretakers the more likely this relationship will be successful. Regardless, if you are further along in your families development there is no time like the present to start focusing on the primary relationship. To do this you need to define some rituals that allow issues to be ironed out quickly and efficiently so that they don’t fester into resentment and contempt. This means setting up time to talk through the challenges you are both facing. Whether these issues are coming up in work or with the kids you need to take the time to work through the pain of what is happening in this vital relationship.
None of this should be a chore but an opportunity to keep the vitality and fun alive in the parent’s lives. Taking the time to prioritize each other can help create a family culture that is able to manage the changes and upsets that are natural to any family.
Being a parent is a constant state of transition as the child develops. It is important to see how the parents must also continually transition. Being on the same page and presenting a united front in your parenting philosophy will help your children feel safe in what is happening to them. When one parent is permissive and the other one is authoritarian the kids will not know what kind of response they are going to get. Although we all come from varying upbringings it is important to work with each other to find common ground.