Raising Children

I think our children were the biggest challenge in our marriage.      

                                                                       Anonymous

IMG_3838As our children grow there are new challenges.  Children seem to be masters at playing one parent against the other from a very early age.  And if parents don’t have a united front, they can easily fall into the traps of these little masters of manipulation before they can say Dr. Seuss.  Good communication and agreements worked out ahead of time will bring harmony where chaos tries to get a foothold.

Each parent comes with his or her own histories and ideas of how to be a parent. Some parents tend to be stricter than their partners.  Or, they vacillate between being strict one day and more lenient the next. Differences are inevitable. How a couple handles them can make a huge difference in the harmony of the household, as well as how well the child is supported in growing up to be emotionally stable and self-sufficient.

Raising children is definitely a place for teamwork.  And, good teamwork requires good communication — preferably without the child as audience, especially when there is always the possibility of civil discussion veering off into emotional territory.  Witnessing one’s parents in an emotional tirade with the child as the topic of discussion cannot only  feed the child’s data base on how to manipulate their parents more effectively in the future, it can also leave the child feeling confused, and possibly unsupported.

That’s not to say that any of us will do it perfectly.  Perfect doesn’t exist in this realm.

However, as parents, we can begin with respect for each other and our children, as well as open communication and teamwork.

Do my spouse and I agree about how to raise our children?  Do we stand united in setting and enforcing healthy boundaries for them?

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