As parents there are so many balls in the air that you are trying to juggle that you often don’t have time to think about much more besides just keeping them from falling. From work, to meals, to school, to extra curricular activities, health, exercise, etc etc., there often isn’t time to think about your relationship and make sure it’s being handled and nurtured in all the ways you want it to. While I typically speak of how to improve your relationship today I am going to take a different turn and speak to how your relationship is the model for which children learn how to relate to others and themselves and what to expect from partnerships.
Kids are sometimes annoyingly perceptive. They see the things we think are hidden and absorb information from what you say but also from what you do. As a couple you are constantly modeling to your child what a relationship is “supposed” to look like. In other words, kids learn from you what to expect from a relationship and what they see as normal. I work with a lot of wonderful parents who work incredibly hard to parent their children in ways that will help them thrive in all areas of their lives.
As a counsellor I often find it surprising how couples don’t realize how their relationship with their partner impacts their child. As a human being I’m not surprised in the least. It is very easy to separate out your relationship with your partner from your relationship with your children. The challenge is that while there is a lot that may go on behind closed doors, your children still pick up on more than you realize. Do you greet each other in the morning or when you get home? Are you able to tackle things as a team or do the kids typically deal with only one of you? Do you and your partner invest in prioritizing your relationship outside of the whole family unit? Do they see you focus on reconnecting after an argument or is it always left open without any resolve? All of these things are lessons to your child about how to relate to others, how they should expect to be treated in their future relationships (both with friends and a partner) and how they treat themselves. What lessons are you teaching them?
Your kids are the most important people in your life, take a moment to reflect on your relationship and ask yourself what you are modeling to your children. Where are you succeeding? Are there areas that need a bit more attention?
Have a great first full week of 2015.