It takes a village to raise a child but in today's world of nuclear families, parents have to raise their children themselves without a lot of help. Yes, there are nannys, grandparents and extended family but ultimately the main load of parenting falls on the mum and dad. This can be overwhelming and can strain couples already dealing with stress.
I work with many families who are struggling with parenting. The core issue is that they have differing parenting goals, differing strategies, differing bandwidths. All these differences seem to be pulling the couple in opposite directions. In all the fighting and power struggles, children are left without consistent parenting.
While there are many books about parenting and different parenting strategies, I believe that ultimately the parenting team and the strength of it- determines successful parenting.
Here are some basic guidelines on creating a strong parenting team.
Plan Your Legacy
Parenting is all about legacy building. Its about creating memories that your children will take with them as they grow up and create their own families. Ask yourself, "what kind of a parent will my children remember me as, when they grow up?" "What memories will they have of their childhood?". Have this discussion with you partner and create a plan of action that will build your legacy. You both have to be equally investing in creating this.
Have each others back
Children need to see you and your partner as one unit. Rather than two people they can play against one another. You need to have each others back when it comes to discipline and boundaries. Don't undo what your partner is trying to do or teach.
Never humiliate your partner in front of your children
You need not always agree with our partner but when it comes to parenting it is better to discuss those differences without the children being around. You want to build up your team-mate and respect them. You should avoid talking ill about them to the children or make the children think lesser of your partner. Remember there is no 'I' in 'team'.
Understand where your partner is coming from
A lot of us are either trying to recreate what happened in our family of origin or are reacting against it. We may feel very strongly that our children need to be brought up a certain way. Rather than becoming annoyed at those differences and allowing them to tear us apart, we need to work on ourselves and be gentle with each other. I may not always agree fully with my partner but sometimes picking my battles and allowing them to handle things a certain way can be my way of showing love.
Never keep secrets
Always make your children understand that you and your partner are a team and therefore, anything said to you, will be known to your partner as well. Not keeping secrets fosters a sense of trust and openness in the family where the parenting team is equally engaged in all issues.
Parenting is tough and parenting looks different in each family. Some of you will be able to make changes easily but for some other families it will be harder. Family therapy can help you understand why some patterns of communication are stubbornly refusing the change. Here is a link to book a session. https://www.beginagainindia.com/book-online
Here's a question for you, can a strong parenting team strengthen a marriage? If yes, how? Leave a comment below if you have something to add or a question to ask.