Whether you parent with a partner who sleeps next to you at night, co-parent with an ex, or even share the responsibility of raising your kid with grandma or grandpa, those relationships have their ups and downs. Parenting is fraught with daily stresses, and our conversations can very easily sound like this:
Didn’t I tell you they need to start Zoom school at 9? It’s 9:30!
How can you let them watch TV when I literally just said they can’t?!
Why do I feel like I’m doing everything and you’re doing nothing?
Sound familiar? You might find it increasingly challenging to manage working from home, keeping house, and playing teacher to your kid. And because of that, your relationship with your parenting partner may be on the rocks.
Here are 5 ways to help you repair that relationship and become a better parenting partner:
1. Practice effective communication. Sighs, grunts, and eyerolls aren’t effective ways to communicate. Kind, clear communication is crucial to raising healthy and secure kids. Instead of yelling “You never help me when I need you to!”, try (calmly) saying, “I feel overwhelmed because I have a meeting in five minutes. Can you help me by [insert your specific request]?”
2. Be strategic. Treat your parenting tasks like business goals, especially when issues arise. Create a schedule. Prepare an agenda. Have objectives. Exchange relevant information with your partner and keep them in the loop. Work together to come up with solutions.
3. Cultivate an atmosphere of respect. One of the fundamental values of conscious parenting is communicating with respect. As parenting partners, you need to model that behavior in how you talk to, and about, each other. Avoid trash-talking your partner or undermining their authority, especially in front of your child.
4. Agree to be consistent. It’s confusing for a kid to continually shift from one set of rules and expectations to another. Apply consistency to bed time, chores, and study and play periods. Get on the same side about what’s permitted and what isn’t. Once you’ve made your decisions, stick to them and be consistent.
5. Chill out. Overextending yourself in too many directions makes you tired, overwhelmed, and cranky. For the sake of your partner, your child, and yourself, make sure you create time in your schedule to kick back and relax. Even a few minutes of quiet time makes a difference.
When sticking to these guidelines feels challenging, remember the ultimate goal: to raise happy, healthy children. And that can only be achieved when the parenting team—you and your partner—are happy and healthy too.
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A 3xTEDx speaker, media contributor, parenting coach, and a mom of two - helping families thrive by using the Guidance Approach to Parenting.