Have you noticed that on airplanes you are always advised to put your oxygen mask first before helping your children? If you run out of oxygen yourself, you can hardly provide any help to your children. The same applies to parenting: as a responsible parent, you should take responsibility for your own happiness and well-being to be able to raise happy children.
“Making your kids the center of your life may seem child-friendly, but it can create long-term unhappiness for everyone in the family,” says David Code, the author of To Raise Happy Kids, Put Your Marriage First“. Many couples believe their marriage is strong because they rarely argue,” he says. “But the real marriage killer is when we distance ourselves from our spouse to keep the peace: We throw ourselves into parenting or work to avoid dealing with issues that cause conflict.” And if you and your spouse become distant, it places pressure on your kids to fulfill your emotional needs.
After all, when you put your marriage on the back burner, your kids can sense the lack of closeness between you. “Kids whose parents’ relationship has cooled are more likely to have behavioral or academic problems than kids of happy couples,” says Philip Cowan, PhD, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, who has studied families for decades with his wife, psychologist Carolyn Pape Cowan, PhD. Think of your relationship as the emotional environment in which your kids live. Just as you want them to breathe clean air and drink pure water, you want them to grow up in a loving atmosphere.
Easier to say than to do, some of you might say. That’s true – not all relationships can be easily fixed. Some relationships are way too toxic and can’t be fixed at all – unfortunately, the relationship between my own parents was in that category. Sometimes I wish they never met each other – that would have been so much better for both of them. If you are caught in one of such extremely toxic cases, talk to someone you trust and seek professional help.
Otherwise see whether there is anything you can do to improve the emotional atmosphere at your home. A few tips and hints are provided below to get you started (my dear visitors and followers, feel free to add to this list via comments):
- Start from Mythbusting marriage and romance
- Check out the three key marriage stages
- Find the 7 keys to a healthy and happy relationship
- Blush through the Four C’s of Sexual Intimacy in Marriage
- Develop emotional sensitivity
- Crack the Communication Code between men and women
- Avoid COMMAn mistake in communication
- And – NEVER LOSE YOUR SENSE OF HUMOUR 😉