Kids don’t cause marital problems. However, the stress caused by parenting can definitely create a rift in a marriage. If parents don’t work together as a team to help alleviate one another’s stress, the rift in the marriage can lead to separation or divorce.
Throughout their 18 years of childhood, kids contribute to a lot of different stressors. From infancy through adolescence and beyond, each stage has its own trials and tribulations. As children grow, the likelihood of parental stress increases .Marital satisfaction tends to decline over time and many studies point to parents of adolescents as having the last marital satisfaction.
Kids with behavioral issues or special needs can add even more stress to a marriage. The statistics on couples who stay together when a child is diagnosed with ADHD or Autism is not promising. When children have special needs it is more important than ever to seek support.
Add blended family issues into the mix and it can become super complicated. Parenting is difficult, but step-parenting can be even more difficult. If you combine two families, you have another degree of complication that can strain the marriage.
So what can a couple do to ensure their marriage stays strong as they raise their children? One important factor is for couples to communicate their needs and expectations. One parent often feels like they are doing much of the work. Whether that includes doing most of the disciplining, driving the children to events, or helping out with homework, when one person feels the pressure of doing most of the work, it can feel like single parenting despite being in a marriage. It is important to share your concerns with your partner and talk about how the share the responsibilities. Setting clear expectations can help reduce conflict about childrearing responsibilities.
Disagreements about disciplinary action are a common complaint among people experiencing marital problems. It is important to talk to your partner about your concerns and the differences in your parenting styles. Resentment can build when people don’t address their concerns. Although you and your partner don’t ever have to agree completely, learning how to compromise can be a big part of successfully raising children while keeping your marriage strong.
Spend time together as a couple. Many couples make the mistake of centering their lives around their children and allowing their marriage to take a backseat. This can be very dangerous to the family. If the marriage starts to deteriorate, you won’t be doing your children any favors. Many people feel guilty going away without the children or not including their children in all of their activities. However, it is vital to the health of your marriage that you get to spend time together as a couple. Spending quality time together without the children can help strengthen your marriage, reduce your stress, and help you to be better parents together.
Seek support from friends and family as well. Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to ask for help. Consider trading childcare with another parent so you can have time together without the children. Get to know other parents with children around the same age as your children as well.
Formal support can be important if you are experiencing more serious problems. Talk to your child’s doctor if you have concerns about possible behavioral issues or developmental delays. Consider family therapy if you are having difficulty with a wide range of family problems. Family counseling can help you become closer as a family and to address some specific relationship concerns. Couples counseling can help keep your marriage with your partner strong. It can also help you determine some goals to help you work together effectively as you parent your children.