A new baby can af­fect the re­la­tion­ship with your part­ner

Great Health Guide - - CONTENTS - Leanne Allen

ASa psy­chol­o­gist I of­ten see cou­ples for re­la­tion­ship coun­selling. One of the is­sues that arise on a reg­u­lar ba­sis is that of par­ent­ing. Why do Mums some­times ex­clude Dads in car­ing for the young child? This ex­tends into the ques­tion, ‘Are you push­ing your part­ner away’ by ex­clud­ing him?


• mum ‘not al­low­ing’ dad to do any­thing

• time spent with the child by each par­ent

• dif­fer­ent par­ent­ing styles (one is ‘easy’ on the child, the other is not)

• be­hav­iour chal­lenges of the child and how to deal with them ef­fec­tively

• ‘spoil­ing’ the child with gifts (one par­ent wants to buy, the other doesn’t).

All these is­sues are im­por­tant and need to be worked on, be­cause par­ents that par­ent to­gether are far more ef­fec­tive than par­ents that par­ent against each other (and be­lieve me, your tod­dler knows who to go to for the bis­cuit!). This ar­ti­cle will dis­cuss the first point, ‘mum not al­low­ing dad to do any­thing’ - be­cause it is some­thing that is very com­mon.

Apart from breast feed­ing, a fa­ther is just as ca­pa­ble as a mother at look­ing af­ter chil­dren.

It usu­ally sounds like this: Her: ‘My part­ner just will not do any­thing with the kids, it drives me crazy’. Him: ‘Ev­ery time I do some­thing it is not good enough; I try and she just does not like the way I do things, so what’s the point?’. Does this sound fa­mil­iar? This is­sue of­ten starts with the birth of the child. Many women feel that their part­ners can’t do as good a job as they can, or they feel so ner­vous about be­ing a par­ent (par­tic­u­larly first-time mums), that they want to do it all them­selves. Apart from breast feed­ing, a fa­ther is just as ca­pa­ble as a mother at look­ing af­ter chil­dren, if given the op­por­tu­nity. Or per­haps dad feels ner­vous about the tiny new bun­dle and just lets mum do it all. And hence the prob­lem has started. If dad is left feel­ing wor­ried, de­val­ued, left out or not good enough, he will not bond ef­fec­tively with the child. As well, many dads go back to work and can­not spend the time with the child. That is OK, but that also means that it is MORE im­por­tant for dad to spend time with the child when he comes home.


If you are Mum, what are some things you can do to help your part­ner? 1. Don’t give up.

2. As­sess the sit­u­a­tion slowly.

Is it re­ally that bad to al­low your part­ner to do things his way now and then? Af­ter all

there are many ways to do the same job.

3. Have a long-term per­spec­tive.

What will it mean to you, your part­ner, your re­la­tion­ship and your child, if dad is given more space to par­tic­i­pate?

4. Ask for help.

Ask for help and ac­cept it when it is given, even if you don’t like the way the task was done.

5. Be pa­tient.

The way you speak to your part­ner will in­flu­ence his re­ac­tion and re­sponse to what it is you are ask­ing of him.

6. Take prac­ti­cal ac­tion.

Go out, leave your child with their dad, even if it is for 30 min­utes and you will prob­a­bly all be­gin to feel more con­fi­dent. Re­mem­ber that as a woman, you are more likely to have dis­cussed par­ent­ing with your mother, with your fe­male friends and col­leagues and read mag­a­zines that are aimed at women. Men do not read, sit down and talk par­ent­ing tips with each other! So, it is up to you to talk about it with your part­ner.

IF YOU ARE DAD, WHAT ARE SOME THINGS YOU CAN DO FOR YOUR PART­NER? 1. Don’t give up. 2. Give re­as­sur­ance.

Re­as­sure your part­ner calmly that you can do it and you want to do it. The best way to gain con­fi­dence is through prac­tice.

3. Of­fer as­sis­tance.

Talk to her about the bur­den of do­ing it all alone and that you are there to help her with your child. Make sure you talk to her in a calm voice.

4. Ask ad­vice.

Ask her for ad­vice if you are un­sure; don’t just say ‘I can’t do it’, be­cause par­ent­ing does not come nat­u­rally, even for women! We all must learn what to do.

5. Of­fer her time-out.

Of­fer her some time out with the girls or on her own, when you will look af­ter the child.

6. Have fun.

Have fun with your child, if you are not sure how, speak to other fa­thers, read, re­mem­ber what you did as a child, or ask your child if they are old enough, they will tell you! Are you push­ing your part­ner away? Re­mem­ber there are many psy­chol­o­gists and par­ent­ing ex­perts in all ar­eas of the coun­try, so if you need some help you can use Google to find some­one near you or use the Find a Psy­chol­o­gist site, to help if you are push­ing your part­ner away.

Leanne Allen (BA Psych(Hons)), is the Prin­ci­ple Psy­chol­o­gist at Re­con­nect

Well­ness Cen­tre. She has trained in Sand­play Ther­apy, NLP and CBT and has had ex­ten­sive train­ing in re­la­tion­ship ther­apy. Leanne has also com­pleted train­ing as a life coach. Her ap­proach is to look for­ward whilst re­leas­ing the trauma of the past. Con­nect with Leanne via email or web­site or at her of­fice on 1300 132 252.

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