Parenting is no walk in the park, but doing it with someone certainly makes it a little bit more manageable. No matter the age of your children, staying in touch with your partner and asking each other questions that will make you better parents will not only be healthy for your relationship, but for your kids as well.
My oldest daughter recently hit the "terrible twos" phase. Although she is a blast to be around and I love her more than anything, she knows how to test my patience like it's her job. If I didn't have the support of my partner, I don't know what I would do some days. He is my backbone when I want to give up and helps me loosen up when I'm being overbearing.
Life gets busy though. Between jobs, at-home responsibilities, grumpy kids and trying to maintain a healthy relationship with your significant other, taking time to assess how you're doing as parents can be the last thing on your minds. Asking and answering these 11 questions with your partner can mean the difference between a snap in your patience or a lull in judgement. And when it's your child's future you're talking about, it's definitely worth the extra time for a chat.
1. How Is Our Relationship?
Many parenting experts agree that loving each other is the most important thing parents can do for their children. Modeling a respectful, affectionate relationship not only teaches your kids about love and respect, but helps them understand that your relationship is secure and healthy.
2. Do We Have Unfair Expectations?
When your kids are little, it's fun to daydream about what hobbies they will enjoy or what they'll grow up to be like But as Huffington Post notes, parent's expectations can actually harm children. Let your kids discover who they are on their own without putting any additional pressure eon them. Although setting your "dream child" aside may be hard, it will make you child feel much more loved, accepted and special.
3. What Kind Of People Do We Want Our Children To Be?
Having unrealistic expectations is one thing, but deciding what important values you want to impart to your kids isn't out of line. In fact, according to Parents it's important to teach your children certain values. Traits like honesty, justice, and respect will help them grow into better adults.
4. In What Ways Are We Awesome Parents?
Make a list of all the things you both excel at so you can build each other up.
5. In What Ways Can We Improve?
Conversely, don't ignore any issues you may be having. If you've had a hard time dealing with stress lately, or your partner isn't being patient, discuss why and how you can do better.
6. Are We Making Lasting Memories With Our Kids?
Kids are only young once, so it's important to make memories with them they'll enjoy looking back on when they're older. Something as simple as starting an after-school tradition or taking them to their favorite restaurant can make great memories.
7. Are We Over Protective?
Although the thought of your child get hurt is painful to think about, and let's not even mention their first crush, Time noted that letting your child take risks is important to their development. These risks should be reasonable, of course, but allowing kids to push boundaries and explore is much healthier than helicopter parenting.
8. Are We Too Easy Going?
On the other side of the same coin is being too laid back. According to new studies, setting boundaries raises more secure children, while a "laissez-faire" parenting approach tends to raise kids with higher depression and anxiety rates.
9. Are We On The Same Page With Discipline?
Taking on parenting as a unified team will help you stick to your guns when it comes to discipline. Decide together what boundaries you want to set and then back each other up when they're being challenged.
10. How Do We Parent Differently Than Our Parents?
Whether you had awesome parents or a rough home life, it's a good idea to decide how you will establish yourselves as parents. Doing everything because it's how you were raised tends to backfire.