A lot of my readers commented that a big mistake made when they became parents is forgetting they were a husband/wife. It is very tempting to let this cute little bundle of joy become the center of your world and to identify yourself first as mom or dad. Your husband or wife should always come first. While that might sound unloving to your children, it actually gives them a great deal of comfort and stability knowing that their parents are very much in love with each other.
The following are tips sent in by readers.
- Be sure to let your children see you kissing, holding hands and snuggling. They might find it gross at some stage in their life but it will be an invaluable lesson as to the importance of intimacy in a relationship.
- Spend time making memories instead of spending money making clutter; Children enjoy the boxes more than the toys that came inside.
- Schedules breed security; it’s is really nice to know what will happen next, especially, when you’re talking about food, or parents coming home.
- Church is important. Go as a couple and continue after the children come along. Start early by taking the child and establish the pattern of going as a family. Church fellowship and others giving encouragement is needed, especially in this day and age when familles are so fractured. We need the mentoring of older godly men and women.
- When the children misbehave, be united in your discipline! Even if you don’t agree with a particular decision, stand united. Kids know quickly how to divide and conquer and play one parent against the other.
- If at all possible be a stay at home Mom all through their schooling. The first thing teens yell out when they come home is ‘Mom.’ It isn’t only the young ones that need a parent in the home to meet them, the teens do too even if they would never admit to it. A smoothly run home and a sense of calm at home are worth a great deal more.
- Limit what the children can be involved in. They don’t need to be doing every activity or sport that comes along, as good as this activity is. Especially don’t start so early like pre school. Let the kids be kids and let them have child’s play. I think we push children far too much in this day and age. You may want your child to excel at some particular activity, but remember it is you that will be taking them to all the practices and going to all the games, bringing the snack and buying the coaches gift at the end of the season. These activities all have their place but shouldn’t take over family life.
- Do not let the kids interfere with you and your mates sex life. Do not say, ‘We can’t do it now the kids will hear.’ So what if they hear, how did they get here? In all actuality if the children happen to hear you, and are old enough to realize what is going on, they will be happy knowing that their parents love each other.
- Children learn by example. Even though they may cry when you go out to a movie, plead that you take them with you, even find ways to try to make the two of you feel guilty, DON’T give into that! The example of being a loving couple to your spouse will far outweigh the fear they have when you go out on your ‘date’. Reassure them, make sure they are comfortable and safe with the person you are leaving them with, you may even give them a call before they go to bed, but do not ruin your marriage to save a relationship with your children. It will only backfire later. They will see that if they whine enough they will get their way and become spoiled by you.
- We have consistently put the children to bed together, keeping a routine that they can count on through the years. As the children have gotten older the routine is Daddy doing the ‘flying bananas into bed’ routine while Mommy prepares to read a story or hear bedtime prayers. Once the children are in bed, we know we have time to steal away to our little ‘haven’ to enjoy recounting the day and listing the blessings together.
- My husband and I have been together for 6 1/2 years; combined we have 5 children ages 3-12. We home school full-time in addition to the many various extra activites that the children belong to. Everyone knows that Friday nights belong to Mom & Dad! We may go out to eat; take in a movie; or just go to the bedroom and lock the door! Just these few hours alone seem to recharge our batteries to keep the FAMILY a healthy & happy unit.
- I have been divorced for twelve years and one of the things that might have helped us keep our relationship strong would have been to leave the kids with a baby sitter once in a while. We never did that, we never even thought of doing that. Once the kids were born we never went out as just a couple. Again, we never even thought of it, too bad, because, even though we love our kids so very much we lost touch with each other.
- The very first thing we decided was that our bedroom was off limits. To not only children, but mother/mother-in-law, friend, guests…and so on. It is our peaceful haven from the world. We decorated it in a pleasing manner to both of us and we can both relax after work and kid’s bedtime with disruption.
- The kids know they will be going to bed at the same time every night. If a television show comes on after bedtime we will tape it for them. There is not discussion or argument on this issue. This in turn allow my husband and me at least 2 hours of ‘child-free’ time in the evenings.
- You absolutely MUST get a baby sitter periodically, maybe once a week or every other week and spend time connecting and COMMUNICATING with your significant other. It doesn’t matter how much you love your child, how cute you think he/she is, or what a hassle you think it is to find a babysitter, go out, pay for a night out, or whatever. You MUST keep your own relationship at the forefront or down the road, the potential collapse of your relationship will take you away from even more valuable time with your lovely child.
Something to think about…