relationship roles Posts

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.



Creating Meaning for Yourself

I often see some great guys who are at a certain time in their lives where they feel as if they are overwhelmed by their jobs, their relationships, have little hope for the condition of the world and have basically lost their sense of self and certainly their energy and passion for life. When we are at that place in our lives, it is hard for us and our partners to manage this level of hopelessness. It certainly can come out in more then sadness and a deep tiredness, but sometimes also irritation in our relationships. One of the first things we do together is to look at the roles in their lives that are important to them. Often in their description, there will be a smile. Looking at what you can do (small steps, one – for this week) to make that role more satisfying helps to begin the road back to meaning. Reading a good research based self help book can get you on the road to recovery. Focussing on gratitude every day, having a moratorium on the news for a few months (honestly, the wars, the gangs, the murders, the injustices and failures of humanity – they will all be there when you return) are also helpful in moving your focus to more positive and meaningful moments in your life. Let the joy of others infect you. The laughter of your partner, or the energetic passion of your child. Live these moments with fresh eyes, let yourself move towards celebration. If you are still finding life challenging, a mental health professional, a spiritual mentor or a coach can certainly be helpful. Start today and go forth and be wonderful!

Fathers Day

Today is the day that we think about and celebrate Fathers. The role of fathering has changed in the past 30 years. Part of this is the fact that woman now work outside their home and the other is that marriages break down more often and fathers are faced with care taking their children in ways they have not experienced before in their 50/50 custody and care taking agreements. I am often coaching fathers in these situations to help them see the part of the picture that their partner used to assume. These can be challenging times and need to be a reason to make your marriage work as a dad. It is important in your relationship to negotiate your mom and dad roles together as the kids needs and your needs change. If you are the type of person that has certain expectations regarding parenting, you will need to work extra hard at letting go when your partner does their role from their gifts and personality and not yours. Criticism and contempt shoot holes in relationships and lead to the dissolution of relationships. Working at acceptance of the other as well as accepting influence from the other is an ongoing theme in successful relationships and fathering.

Posted by Lynda in Healthier Marriages and tagged with , ,