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.the­con­fi­dan­te­coun­

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