1. Make your primary connection with your partner, or a person of your own generation. Children are NOT the primary connection.
Couples who focus on the children as their reason for being together, lose touch with each other and often the original reason you are together. Children grow up and leave the nest. If you are not a romantic couple, consider talking about other topics rather than just the children.
2. If your goal is to stay together after the children leave, then find ways to nurture your relationship as a couple to keep it strong.
Some ideas are to do date night every month, have time together after the kids are in bed, and to discuss about your life at the dinner table so kids see you as an individual, not just a parent.
3. Make rules you both believe in, or at least you are willing to support.
If your partner feels very strongly about a rule, such as a curfew time, and you don’t, still support the rule. Unity and flexibility are key.
4. Negotiate your differences
Couples need to work through their differences to give their kids a single, clear message about family issues. This requires making accommodations to work as a team, taking the time to talk, and offering compromises to find rules and problem solving solutions that both are willing to try.
5. Encourage and back each other up when enforcing a rule.
If you are having a hard time supporting your partner’s ineffective attempts at enforcing a rule, gently ask if you can talk to them privately at that moment. Give each other permission ahead of time to interrupt in this manner.
6. Discuss how you were raised and what expectations you learned about the parent/adult-child relationship.
Realize that you will probably have different viewpoints. Be careful of judging. See yours as one way, not necessarily the “right” way. Be open to dialogue.
7. Discuss what each of you want your relationship with your children to look, sound, and feel like at each developmental stage.
Often parents just try to make it through each day without having a clear vision of how you would like the family members to relate to each other. When you discuss together what you would like, your desired outcome, then you can discuss whether you are heading toward your goals or if you need to seek outside help to guide you.
I often work with parents who want to be “on the same page”.
Coming in for private parenting education gives you the time and professional support you need to set your goals together, discuss how it’s going now, and learn more effective parenting skills. Contact me if you are interested in learning more about my services.