Parenting effects on Marriage
When a couple has children, it can have an effect on just about everything. Most parents already know this obvious fact. Yet, they may not understand to what extent. Many couples come to marriage counseling not realizing the toll that having children has taken on their relationship. Parents, who already experience increased stress, decreased hours of sleep, and increased organizational problems due to their careers, increase the complexity of life when they have children. I hope this fact does not deter you from having children, but I also hope it creates an increased pause when thinking about the enormity of the amazing blessing and task of taking on the parental role. Not only are their the physical burdens on parents, but the mental strain of trying to “raise a child right” can be exhausting and frustrating. Emotions tend to be more intense than before. However, I also believe that parenting is one of the most rewarding blessings that a parent can experience if they choose to pursue this calling.
Children at all ages tend to provide their own challenges for the couple, but it does not have to be all doom and gloom. Having children is very rewarding. To see a child take their first steps provides immense satisfaction. To experience a child’s learning and love is one of the most amazing times in a parent’s life. When I come home, seeing my two children call my name and smiling as they run into my arms brightens my day. Children can be very uplifting. Most days, I can’t wait to get home to those little hands and feet.
I am also excited for the teenage years. I long to see my children succeed, but I know many mountains and valleys await us as time moves forward. Parents will be on an emotional roller coaster for years and will feel highs and low. Children can break a relationship, or they can make a relationship stronger. The greatest success of a parent is when, after many years of persistent love, hard work and tears poured into a child, a son or daughter expresses that appreciation back and demonstrates the independence and ability to thrive as adults.
Diverse theories about parenting that cause marriage stress
Every person has a different story. Each of us have different histories, backgrounds, family trees and events that shape us throughout life. When two individuals get married, they attempt to combine all those differences. These differences can complicate the parenting process and produce stress in the marriage. Imagine a couple where the husband comes from a family that was very strict and the wife comes from a family that was very nurturing and open in their parenting style. These are only two different dynamics of many, but an attempt to meld these two types of parenting together can be very difficult.
Authoritarian parenting style
This type of parenting style is like being a dictator. Parents set rules and expect children to adhere to those rules no matter what. They are strict disciplinarians. They usually don’t provide reasons for punishment or rules. They may be more willing to use corporal punishment. This type of parenting to create self-esteem problems in children or anger and hostility.
Authoritative parenting style
This type of parenting style is flexible. The parents establish rules, but may not feel the need to provide a consequence every time a rule is not followed. They are more supportive of their children and provide reasons for actions and consequences. They are more empathic toward children and consider their feelings when providing consequences. Children raised with this type of parenting tend to be happier and have higher self-esteem. They also tend to be more successful.
Permissive parenting style
This type of parenting style is when parents tend to allow their children to do what ever they want to do. They give in and don’t really set rules. They tend to only step in if things get serious. This is the parent that attempts to be “friends” with their child. Since these children do not have much of an authority figure or rules growing up, they may have behavioral problems and not work well with authority. They also tend to have low self-esteem.
Uninvolved parenting style
These parents tend to not do much for their children. They leave their children to take care of themselves. Neglect might be present in the family system. Rules and expectations are usually non-existent and parents to not usually know what their children are doing. These children also exhibit behavior problems and low self-esteem.
Parental boundaries and rules for success in marriage
Parents must understand and implement consistent boundaries and rules if they are going to be successful in raising children to become mature adults. The only way that parents will achieve this goal is to be UNIFIED in whatever boundaries and rules they apply. I have seen too many parents, especially in blended families, where the parents give different rules and consequences to the same child and then begin arguing instead of making sure the child understands what they need to do. This type of environment can leave a child with increased uncertainty, instability and insecurity. Parents would do well to sit down and talk about boundaries between the marriage relationship and relationships with their children, rules and when they apply, and consequences that will follow breaking the rules. Once these are agreed on and maybe even written down, parenting would be wise to make sure their children know these rules and consequences, then follow them consistently. Parents, please listen to one another and learn to compromise.
Needs of children as they age
Children have different needs throughout the lifespan. Children between the ages of 0 and 2 years old need what seems like everything. They need you as parents to be their everything. You need to be attentive, nurturing, loving, protective and interactive. Children from ages 2 to 8 are growing and learning at very rapid paces. They need patience and grace because they don’t understand much and it is your job to help them master critical skills (ie, potty training, brushing their teeth, dressing themselves, eating with utensils and many other skills). They also will be increasingly curious and show a natural propensity to learn. They will ask the “Why” question over and over. It is important to stay engaged and begin the tough training they need to become adults. They also began experiencing many different social situations that you may need to help them through. Between the ages of 8 and 12, children are learning a lot and beginning to learn about who they are in the world and how they belong. They may start puberty early, but this is really a period of time where they are developing the ability to socialize so that when they reach the teenage years they can find the appropriate identity in their world. Their ability to socialize means a lot. In the adolescent years, a child is trying to figure out who they are and may be even more answering meaningful questions about life, purpose and existence. They long to be accepted and belong, but sometimes this can be a difficult transition to navigate. Your ability to balance love and relationship with allowing for some guided and protected independence is important. Know that every parent has questions and struggles. Every generation asks how to be a parent. I encourage you to keep learning and asking questions.
Parenting techniques that work
Need some help? Here are some initial things that might help. Listen to each other and your child with open ears and hearts. You don’t have to agree, but attempt to understand. Relationships are everything when it comes to children. It is difficult to discipline when you are focused on relationships, but discipline is a must. Learn to apologize to your spouse and your child when you messed up. They will respect you and more likely listen to you if you are willing to acknowledge you are still learning and growing. Finally, be consistent and persistent. Being wishy-washy can make you seem weak and as if you don’t know what you are doing. Don’t give up. Keep learning and growing as a parent. Obviously, there are many other ways of parenting, but you’re family is unique and it would be hard to give all the possibly consequences or ideas that are out there to you right here on the page. If you desire more help with parenting, please call and schedule an appointment today at 706-955-0230.