Episode 28 –
Getting on the same page as a co-parent
“Parents are generally making parenting decisions based on the way they themselves were parented- even if they don’t realize it. ”
Where do you begin in getting on the same page as a co-parent? In this episode I breakdown why many of us enter parenthood with different ideas of what parenting will look like, how that creates friction between spouses, and what to do to get on the same page. Thanks for listening! Find the show notes for this episode at Raiseology.com/episode 28 and join the Raiseology Parenting Facebook Group to connect more!
Let me know what questions you have on this subject in the Raiseology Parenting Facebook group! Thanks for listening!
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I was speaking with a client the other day and the conversation turned to the very interesting topic of how parenting has affected her relationship with her spouse. I thought it would be a great topic to discuss here today. I asked her how the birth of her now 3 month old daughter was affecting her marriage. Her response was really interesting. She said that before the baby was born the couple was super excited and really couldn’t have been in a better place in their relationship. I too, remember that time. When there is so much excitement over this experience you are sharing and you can’t imagine things getting any better. You marvel at the process and the growth of the baby every step of the way. As the pregnancy progresses you’re both in awe as the belly grows, get excited over every belly kick, discuss names and registry items, and try to prepare for the baby together as best you can. Then something happens- You have this amazing baby and everyone is excited, but you are tired, and trying to figure it all out. In so many cases it’s tough to prepare for the way you actually feel upon arrival of your bundle of joy. You may get advice from friends who have been there but often it’s hard to predict what your experience will be like. My client said since the birth of her baby she finds she and her husband are arguing a lot more and they don’t really understand why. Well, I think there are many factors involved. First, there is a hormonal change that occurs and has moms feeling more sensitive and often crying where even they don’t fully understand it, which only leaves dads feeling helpless and confused. Dads may want to be helpful, but often don’t know how they can best support moms. Then as that time improves, there is suddenly a realization that for every decision there are now 2 people involved that want to make it. And the stakes seem higher than choosing bedroom furniture, or even where to live. After all, there is this feeling that every decision made will affect the baby’s future in a way that isn’t always for-seen or reversible. This in turn leads both parents to start feeling like their way may be the best way and is certainly worth fighting for.
I’m here to explain a little bit about why this happens and then hopefully give you some strategies to improve it.
So first, what has the greatest effects on our parenting? We spoke about this way back in Episode 3 with Dr. Shannon Irvine. Parents are generally making parenting decisions based on the way they themselves were parented- even if they don’t realize it.
Either they feel they themselves were parented in such an amazing way, they need to do things just like their parents did, or they feel strongly that they want to do things differently. And for most couples there is a discrepancy in the way they were parented no matter which category the parents fall into. The main problem here is that rarely does a couple even have this discussion prior to pregnancy or delivery. So now you have 2 people raising a child with preconceived feelings and yet no one has taken the time to discuss it! I’m sure you see where I’m going with this.
The first step is really stopping to evaluate the situation- to recognize first that not every decision made will have such a profound impact, and that there are certainly ways to reverse mistakes you feel you’ve made along the way- We all make parenting and relationship mistakes…the important thing is to evaluate the situation and see what needs to be done to correct it. There are so many situations where something may not happen exactly how you’d like it too but the result is nonetheless favorable as well. It’s really important to focus on the good and to try to evaluate your decisions and their outcomes through a positive lens.
Secondly, if you notice you are butting heads with your spouse over parenting, it’s really important to have this discussion. To sit down and talk about your specific feelings about parenting, what you ultimately want for your kids, and what you feel the road to achieving those goals is. And ask your co-parent to do the same. My guess is you will find you both want pretty similar things and have similar goals for your kids and who you’d like them to become, even if the road to getting there looks different in both your eyes. And that’s where it’s important to have an open discussion about it, seek advice, and even in some cases get help to figure out how best to achieve those goals in a way that makes you both comfortable and happy. The reality is that if you aren’t both on board with the methods, there’s bound to be contradiction and inconsistency. And we know from research and experience that consistency is one of the most important factors in parenting and achieving your parenting goals.
My recommendation is to try to remove preconceived notions about what you think your partner will say and really try to listen. Prepare a nice dinner and discuss over a glass of wine. Try to make it a pleasant experience. The last thing you want is for this discussion to end up causing more arguing. Show up with a completely open mind and truly invite all opinions. The result may be a style of parenting that is different than what you have in your mind, but works so much better because you are now on the same page and providing a consistent message to your children.
Join the raiseology parenting facebook group where I’ve been sharing parenting tips via live video. Can’t wait to see you there!
Meet Your Mentor
Sharon is a general pediatrician, loving wife and mother to 4 daughters.
After a decade of practicing general pediatrics and working with families, she realized there often wasn’t enough time while tending to children’s medical needs to help parents in the way that would be most helpful in shaping their children’s futures.
The Raiseology Program was developed to teach parents how to raise their children with the love and authority necessary to promote resilience and responsibility.
Sharon’s experience with hundreds of families as well as her own help her meet you where you are on your parenting journey to help you make it what you want it to be.
Empowering parents to raise resilient children in a modern world
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