You Are Just Like Your Father!

Have you ever found yourself the recipient of your spouse saying...

"You are just like your Father, you get so angry so quickly!"... or

"You are just like your Mom, you baby her too much..." Yikes..

Something to keep in mind before you say things like the above is, was the way I was parented the best way?  Do I have different expectations than my spouse?  Why are we always on different pages!?  

This is a very common scenario in your typical household, but why?  Because our parents all raised us differently.  Chances are, if you are a Male you were taught to be tough, not to be coddled or doted on too much and to not cry too much for fear of your weakness.  If you are a Female, chances are you were given more patience and understanding or attention when sad.

When you are facing differences in Parent Styles it can create quite a barrier between you and your partner.  The first thing you need to do is DISCUSS IT!

And when I say "discuss it" I don't mean have a conversation about why your parenting style is better because of...

I mean, actually discuss it, talk about your differences.  Express why you feel the way you do about how you parent and think about how it affects your children.  Having an open dialogue is important to feel like you are being heard and understood as well as let your guard down and really listen to what your partner is telling you to better understand them!  Give them your full attention with no distractions as much as possible.

After you discuss, come up with an action plan.  Talk together about how you can blend your parenting styles to create harmony.  Also, talk about how you will hold each other accountable for change or improvement in the most productive and positive way.  If your partner is coming across as too demanding or harsh when talking with your children you don't want to blurt out, "Hey!  Remember what we talked about!" (cue condescending voice...) You want to talk about how you personally want to be given a cue or reminder when in the moment to bring you back to your conversation of change.  

I learned this the hard way after having a conversation, feeling like real progress was made with my Husband and then my moment of truth came.  In the heat of the moment with my Husband and child I found him resorting to his routine of getting a bit too loud and not having quite enough patience and I responded in a way that he felt was threatening and undermining.  Keep practicing, apologize to one another and try again.  It is so important for your children to see this as well.  Our kiddos need to know that in life there are differences and compromises, and most importantly, no one is too big to say, "I messed up."

Clear some space in your calendar this week or weekend to really work on this together, you will be amazed at what a difference it makes!

I have put together a PDF for you and your partner to work on to see if you can work together to create harmony and understanding.  I suggest printing a copy for each person, fill it out individually and then discuss it with each other.  The important thing to keep in mind is this is a discussion, not an attack on each other regarding what you are doing wrong or why you are not a good parent.  Keep it positive, take breaks if you need but keep the conversation going.  Be honest and you will see what a difference in your life this will make! 

The Special Needs in your relationship no one likes to talk about

When we focus so much of our time and energy on our "Extra" children what's left for us?  Our relationships?

Special Needs children are complex, wonderful, frustrating, overwhelming, funny and challenging.  I often found myself so exhausted at the end of the day that I didn't have much to pour into my relationship with my husband.

Is it fair?  Nope.  Is it a real struggle?  Yep.

In my personal experience the professional field wants to know,

"How is your child doing in school?"

"How is therapy going?" 

"What are the most recent challenges"

And that is great and all, but couldn't help but to think, "Wait!  What about what is happening to my relationship!?"

"What about our struggles to understand each other, that we are always in conflict about discipline and how to even do that with an "extra" child.."

It made me feel selfish, like I wasn't concentrating on who was really important, my child..

But who takes care of my child?  We do.

Who has to work hard to pay for all of the medical needs, appointments and expenses?  We do.

So isn't in the best interest of everyone to build a strong foundation in our relationship to get through the immense struggles, the stress of parenting an extra challenging child and the draining tantrums?  You bet it is!

If I was to give advice to you today it would be this...

Don't forget about yourselves, if you are a single parent, it's especially important to take time for yourself!  I know we hear it all of the time, but there is a reason for it!

Ever since I truly started taking the time to be intentional with my husband I have noticed a major shift in our relationship.

Ask your family for a couple of hours alone with your spouse.

Don't have family close?  Hire a sitter for a couple of hours.

Don't have the funds to hire a sitter?  Reach out to your community of other fellow parents with Special Needs children to swap nights...more on this to come later!

Even if you have to put the kid(s) to bed early and put it in your calendar, do it.  And do it regularly.  Put it in your calendar like an appointment that is to be taken as such, no cancelling!

You're worth it!  Let me repeat, YOU ARE WORTH IT!

Take care of yourself, your child(ren) will thank you for it! 

 

This is worth fighting for!

This is worth fighting for!