Counseling can help couples dealing with a variety of parenting issues. The stress of raising children can be detrimental to a marriage if the couple struggles with parenting issues. Couples counseling can assist parents in working together and growing closer as they raise their children.
Counseling Before Having a Child
Just like some couples receive pre-marital counseling, pre-baby counseling can also be helpful. Counseling can help a couple clarify their expectations about becoming parents. They can sort out practical issues about what roles each parent will take after the baby is born.
Couples can also discuss how they will deal with other associated stressors such as any potential financial strain of a baby, missed work, and childcare. Open and honest discussions about who will change diapers, what role extended family is going to take in caring for the child, and other practical issues are important. Counseling can also help a couple develop a plan to deal with the change in their relationship as they go from a couple to a family.
The stress of raising children can take a toll on a couple if it is not addressed. If a couple’s relationship becomes strained, the ongoing stress of parenting can contribute to a bigger rift in the marriage. Resentment can build if each parent doesn’t feel supported.
Raising children can decrease the amount of time a couple has to talk with one another while simultaneously increasing the amount of information they have to communicate about. Couples may feel like ships passing in the night as they transport children to various events, help out with homework, and manage household responsibilities.
Counseling can help couples address communication problems. It can help them learn new strategies for communicating. It can also help them to improve the quality of their communication. It is important for couples to continue to communicate about the children, but they also need to be able to communicate about other issues in order to maintain their emotional connection.
Maintaining emotional and sexual intimacy can become complicated when children enter the picture. This is especially true if the couple’s bedroom has been taken over by children who don’t sleep through the night. When couples are busy raising children, they often lack the time, energy, and desire to stay as connected as they have in the past.
Counseling can help couples maintain a healthy sex life after having children. Sometimes, a couples’ sex drive can change due to lack of sleep, a new mother’s hormonal changes, and lack of privacy. Developing strategies to stay physically intimate are important.
As couples spend their time raising children, they focus less on the needs of each other. As a couple spends their time discussing child-rearing they often don’t make time to work on their marriage. It’s important to stay connected as a couple and counseling can help a couple develop healthy habits to help their marriage stay strong.
Couples often disagree about disciplinary issues. Sometimes one parent is more strict than the other. Other times, a couple can’t agree on which consequences are most appropriate.
Couples counseling can help a couple identify their values and goals. This can help them to find discipline strategies they both agree on. Counseling can also help them learn strategies to problem-solve disagreements they have with parenting in the future. Parenting teenagers can be especially stressful and learning how to work together to manage disciplinary action is important.
One of the most important strategies for parenting successfully is for the couple to feel as though they are working together as a team. Unfortunately, in some families, one parent actually seems to side with the children against the other parent. This can cause one parent to want to be friends with the children, to be seen as the nice parent, or to agree with the kids that the other parent is inappropriate.
When parents don’t feel like they are working together as a team, they can become enemies. It isn’t healthy for the children and is very damaging to the marriage. Parents don’t always need to agree on everything, but they do need to feel supported by their partner. Couples counseling can help parents learn how to work together effectively in raising the children.
The Importance of Counseling
Raising children is stressful, even on healthy marriages. If a marriage is struggling, the extra stress can be very damaging. Counseling can help couples prior to the birth of their first child or later on in the marriage while they are raising the children. Parenting disagreements may be a symptom of other underlying marital issues and counseling sometimes helps couples uncover other issues.