Keys To A Happy Marriage Part 4: Don’t Let Parenting Make You Wish You Were Never Born!
An Insight On Parenthood
It’s likely you will become a mommy or daddy to a precious little soul; chances are you already are.
Although parenting is one of life’s greatest, most profound blessings, for some parents it becomes a curse.
A common theme that emerges from research on families, children and parenting is that kids mature best when both parents share in the responsibility of raising them, giving caring attention to their mental, physical, social and emotional development.
When one parent shoulders most of the burden and responsibilities of parenthood, it stresses the marriage and leads to divorce more often than one might expect.
It’s estimated that nearly one million children annually in the United States enter the divorce process with their parents because mom and dad decide to call it quits.
A child’s primary sense of security is the safety he or she gains from knowing that everything will be okay because mom and dad offer their love, care and protection. Divorce upsets this environment.
But sometimes life happens, and one parent, sometimes both, is taken away though illness or an accident.
But one of the most common things today that separates kids from their parents is divorce. And in most cases, divorce can be prevented altogether.
Preventing Divorce By Sharing Parenting Responsibilities
Divorce doesn’t have to happen. And one of the best ways to protect you from losing your family is for you and your spouse to share the parenting responsibilities.
The first step in sharing the parenting responsibilities is being co-partners and equals in the decision-making process regarding your child.
Here are some common decisions that most parents should be discussing together:
- Where will your child go to school
- Will you raise your child to be a person of faith
- How will you provide for your child’s health needs
- What financial planning will you begin for their college years
- Who are their friends – and do you want them in your child’s life
- What kinds of activities do you want to enjoy as a family
- What memories do you want your child to have
- What projects & activities can you use to develop a spirit of generosity within your child
I’m a firm believer that even if a divorce has already been finalized with no hope or chance of reconciliation, then you still need to share in the parenting decisions and responsibilities.
Children must not be used as pawns, or to inflict pain on your ex-husband or ex-wife. If this is your current leaning, then you need to get outside of yourself and realize that this isn’t about you anymore – it’s about your child and his or her well-being.
The other thing I feel compelled to say is that just because you quit the marriage doesn’t mean you get to quit parenthood, at least in the eyes of your child; you are still his or her mom/dad and forever will be.
Honor your role as a parent and it make it one of your most important priorities.
Don’t think for a minute that once you’ve dropped your child support check in the mailbox that you’ve fulfilled your parenting responsibilities for that month.
If what I’ve just said sounds rather harsh then it’s because that was my intention 🙂
My role in this blog post is serving as your child’s advocate and to communicate very clearly with you that their needs come first.
If you have chosen to divorce, then you owe it to your kids to set aside any disagreements with your spouse and move forward as partners in raising your children.
The time for confrontation has passed. You are no longer adversaries. You’ve done what you felt best served your respective needs personally, but now you and your spouse need to do what is in the absolute best interest of your child/children.
Responsible Parenthood Starts With Practice
Start discussing some of the decisions that I listed earlier in this post. And then figure out what needs to be done every day, week, month and year, and then partner with your spouse in making it happen. Practice being an engaged, caring parent who is present in your child’s life.
Whenever kids are in the picture, your needs come second to theirs whether they are your biological children or you “inherited” them. And as their parent, you will have obligations and responsibilities…but let me tell you, there’s no greater joy either.
Life As We Know It
Life as we know it today in this country involves single-parent families, for any number of reasons beyond divorce. Some children are born outside of marriage, for instance.
Here’s what you need to know if you, or someone you know, is in a single-parent situation:
You can be the greatest mom or dad in the world, if not in your eyes then in the eyes of your child.
Your child thinks the world of you. He or she loves you more than anything and wants you to be in their life forever.
Be encouraged. If you feel a little overwhelmed then I might suggest you start researching available programs in your city for parents and families, or in your church.
In fact, your church family can be your child’s surrogate family, too. Connecting yourself and your child to a loving, caring community of faith will be one of the best decisions you will ever make.
No matter what it takes, you and your spouse must work together in sharing the parenting responsibilities.
Pitch in and help out. Be an active participant in your child’s growth and development; be there for them.
You will experience emotional peaks and valleys along this journey, but stay the course because it’s so worth it.
If it gets to be too much for you, realize that it’s okay because parenting is the toughest “job” in the world! Every parent I know feels overwhelmed from time-to-time. Hey – this might sound funny but don’t be afraid to see a therapist so you can have adult interaction, support and the chance to air your frustrations.
Hire a babysitter every now and then, too, so you can have a life!
Here’s What I Know
You’re going to go through a lot as a mom or dad.
You’re going to lose a lot of sleep.
You’re going to worry yourself to death sometimes.
And you will give up a lot of things that you want so you can give your kids what they need.
But when it’s all said and done, your heart will glow…and you won’t hesitate to do it all over again because it was one of the most meaningful and satisfying experience that you have ever known.