TIPS TO HELP NAVIGATE YOUR WAY THROUGH RAISING CHILDREN WITH A PARTNER
Welcome back to school and Term 3! For many parents and carers, it’s juggle, stretch and rise to the challenge. Here are a few frequently asked questions you might find beneficial that enhance your relationship with your partner and children:
My partner works full-time, is often away, and doesn’t get the chance to take the children to school or help at school activities etc. He is feeling like he is missing out. How can I make him feel more involved?
Thankfully, we have the benefit of the huge variety of phone apps to keep working partners in touch with their family. It certainly doesn’t replace touch, but a quick Facetime at the soccer match is a wonderful tool. Other ideas are:
● Plan ahead with class teachers to invite the working parent in for a “show and share” about their job. You can engineer any job to sound exciting.
● Exchange drawings or notes in lunchboxes.
● Plan regular one-on-one breakfast
dates with the working parent before school if you have multiple children.
● Arrange for a spontaneous school pick-up by the working partner. It might be infrequent but avoid being too rigid in your roles as these surprises will be memorable.
● Create a special regular ritual such as “Saturday morning pancake cook-up” when the working parent is home that creates a special connection.
● Create an online shared photo album or scrapbook of events to share important achievements such as awards or exciting things with the working parent.
● Draw up a special calendar featuring input from the children on days when a travelling parent arrives home.
● Importantly, ensure both parents are understanding of hectic times during their schedule such as meetings and evening bath/mealtimes.
My wife and I share a few differences when it comes to disciplining the children. How can we unify our parenting?
To ensure you are both presenting as a “united front” to your children, it is helpful to have a discussion with your husband around these questions:
● Do you appreciate how you were disciplined?
● If anything, what would you change about your childhood?
● How close did you feel to your family and if not, why not?
● Do you remember how bed and mealtimes were handled?
● What were the consequences for poor choices when you were a child?
● Do you desire to mirror your parents’ methods?
● How are your respective answers to the above similar or different?
While you cannot anticipate every scenario, I encourage couples to conduct regular behind-the-scenes discussions to determine your disciplinary style.
It is natural to discover you have inconsistent approaches. Importantly, back each other in front of the children, then discuss it later.
Hear more on this in my new podcast: Is this love?. Tune in each Friday morning to my co-host of the radio Salt106.5 breakfast show.
Joanne Wilson is a neuropsychotherapist, relationship specialist, radio co-host, workshop facilitator and guest speaker. Contact www.theconfidantecounselling.com