6 Relationship Survival Tips for those with Young Kids and Adolescents

I see many couples with young children or with kids in adolescence whose relationship is drooping or they are even to the point of separation. It is true that on this marital journey, research shows that these are 2 times in the relationship, where marital satisfaction can be the most difficult.

  1. Resolve to become even more of a team together with your partner. This does not mean that you will parent identically to your partner but supporting your partner as a parent is necessary. Remember that you both have good intentions towards your kids. Take steps to repair what needs to be repaired in your relationship. Now is the time. You are modelling for your kids how to live in a relationship every day. This is the most powerful teaching there is. Even more then your words every day.Take time for a date night to continue to develop your marital friendship. This is not an option. During these more difficult times, your connection together is most important and must be attended to.
  2. Do not be alone in raising your kids. Look outwards and get help from your family. If you do not have family, trade some time with friends. In our day and age, it takes  more then 2 people to raise children. You need respite from your kids and they need respite from you. You also need a great babysitter, especially if you do not have willing family or friends.
  3. Do not spend time in parent guilt. Everyone has the propensity towards parent guilt. Wallowing in it is not helpful. Changing your future behaviour is productive and a great response to that guilt. If it is too late, forgive yourself and move on.Your kids will learn their life lessons from more then just you.
  4.  Stay in the present . Do not future catastrophize your kids from their present behaviour. In fact, talk about your kids as you expect they will be in the future in a positive way. For example, “I know you lied to me today, but I know that as you continue to grow, you will become a trustworthy adult”.
  5. Do not parent in relation to the way you were parented or wish you were parented. Your children are not you and have not had the same life experience that you had. Parent them in response to what you see that they need. Do not try to treat each of your children the same. Notice they are very different from each other and need different things from you.
  6.  Make constant efforts at relationship connection with your kids. Make the relationship with your kids a high priority. Find out their language of love and practice it. This gives you the maximum benefit for the time and effort spent in your relationship with each of your kids.

If you understand that others share these times as more difficult, it can be helpful. Now may be the time for some parent coaching or getting together with others who are struggling. These times will pass but you must consider making the most of them. Each stage in a relationship is an invitation for you to learn something about yourself and it is an opportunity for positive change in your relationship.