We’ve talked money and sex, so next up – kids.
Kids are wonderful, fun, and amazing to see grow. They also bring a lot of issues into relationships if you are not prepared for them. Couples tend to fight a lot when it comes to kids. This can be arguing about having kids all the way to who is spending more time with them. We will explore the common reasons couples fight and argue about kids and tips to help.
To have or not to have?
Early in your relationship, either before you are married or soon after being married, the inevitable discussion comes up: do you want to have kids? Hopefully this conversation is something that already happened in your relationship and you both know where you stand on the subject.
If not, this can be a large source of problems between couples. The fights generally start when one partner wants a child and the other one does not. If you are not on the same page about wanting or not wanting kids, you could really struggle with constant arguments. Unfortunately this is also one of those things that sometimes can pull couples apart and end relationships.
What can help: Having differing ideas on having or not having kids does not have to end the relationship. Sometimes it is just a matter of one partner having the opportunity to consider the subject more. What will help is an open, non-pressurized discussion with both partners being very open about their reasons for wanting or not wanting kids.
How many to have?
Another source of tension in the “having kids” discussion is the number of kids both partners want to have. Imagine if you pictured only having one kid and your partner wanted 8 (maybe a bit extreme, but it can happen!) – this would be a huge problem between the two of you!
What can help: Compromise can be the name of the game here along with being willing to work together to come up with the ideal number of children you want to have as a couple. The easy part was already decided when you both wanted kids, so ensuring you both talk about exactly what your expectations are with regards to family size will do wonders to help you both on the same page and not arguing or fighting.
What if we have different parenting styles?
Another area that many couples fight about is how to raise your kids. You can have all the discussions in the world before having kids, but once they are there with you then you really see how each of you parent.
If both of you parent in very different ways – such as one parent being more laid back and the other parent being more authoritarian – it can be a source of tension and fighting between both of you.
What can help: Develop a plan together of how you want to parent. Try writing down this plan of how you want to parent as a couple and what your discipline routine will be – this will save you many hours of frustration and fights as you grow as a family.
Another suggestion is to attend a parenting class together to give you ideas and strategies to approach parenting as a team where you both have consistent messages that your children will hear.
We can’t agree on how much time to spend with the kids!
As your family grows, fights can happen about how much time each partner is spending with the kid(s). Sometimes one parent is very involved and and other is more hands-off. Resentment can be a big enemy that can come in between you are your partner if this happens.
What can help: Make sure you are communicating with your partner if you feel like one of you is spending too much or too little time with the kids. Also, don’t be afraid to be open with your partner when you need a break from being around the kids.
You are both entitled to time away from the children in order to gain some “me time.” A little “me time” will really help to regain some sense of calm and an ability to handle stress better.
Solid parents, struggling spouses
Too many times I see couples who stop being couples and only look at being parents. This leads to many problems in marriages and relationships. Couples grow distant, lose sight over why their spouse is important to them, and forget to care for their spouse because all the focus is on the kids.
What can help: I have told many couples over and over again that they need to put the marriage first and foremost, then everything else comes after that.
Often when I say this I get very strange looks and even people scoff and argue, “But my primary job is to be a parent. I need to make sure my kids are OK, do better and have better than what I did.”
It’s controversial, but – NO! While it’s true your children should be a priority, keeping your marriage strong will help make you both successful parents.
Above All, Make Each Other a Priority
Your relationship needs to be the first and last thing you think about. You need to make sure that you are connecting with your spouse on a daily basis to keep the relationship strong and alive. If you and your partner are at 100%, everything else around you will be better off for it.
To help you remain connected and keep the spark alive:
- Be affectionate with your partner as often as possible. If your little one pushes in between you and your partner, ask them to wait and explain that Daddy and Mommy are having time together and that you will take care of their want in a moment. Believe me, they will be OK waiting for one minute more. This helps show and model for your child or children that marriage and the relationship is very important and not to be neglected. This also keeps your spouse aware that you care for them and about them first.
- Schedule regular date nights (timing and frequency is up to you). Some couples will go out weekly and get a babysitter whereas other couples will have a monthly date night. You and your partner need to decide what will work best for you. Remember: your date night is YOUR DATE NIGHT, sans kids! To keep it interesting, take turns each planning a date night for you both and then surprise your partner with the date you planned.
- Maintain intimacy in your relationship. Kids are very, very good at ruining the mood just when you are about to be intimate with each other. Schedule nights for sex and put them on the calendar. Not only does this keep you accountable to following through, it actually builds excitement and sexual tension as you both look forward to the time you set aside. Take advantage of quickies! Maybe when your kids are napping you and your partner take some quick time for sex – the uncertainty of when your kids will wake up can sometimes add to the passion level! You can also sneak away into the shower together before your kids wake up to turn up the heat with each other.
There are other reasons couples can fight and argue about kids, but these tend to be the big reasons which come up over and over again. Hope this was helpful! If you missed last weeks blog on sex and why that is the second biggest area causing fights, click here.
Until next time – live truly, love fully!