Children are always watching with their eyes and listening with their ears. They are picking up everything you say and do. As parents sometimes we don’t even notice this until we see them say something or do something. We might even tell ourselves why are they being so much like me?
At a young age children mimic what we do. Our character and life are an example of the things that they will learn to act and even be like as they grow up. Marriage is definitely no different either. Marriage is presenting them with a set of values and beliefs that they will go on to believe is “right”.
The question is: Do you like what you and your spouse are teaching your children?
1. Modeling to your kids
Children learn about the world and how to act by the way you model. In fact, modeling takes place even before they understand verbal communication. Those little eyes are watching you from the first day they are born. It’s important to remember the importance of our actions as much as we focus on verbally teaching. The U.S. Department of Health and Human services in a longitudinal study in 2009 found that the quality of a child’s parent’s marriage had the same amount of influence on their future mental and physical health and well-being as their own relationship with either parent.
It’s important that parents do is love one another. Parents need to make an effort to value each other, teach their kids the importance of balancing work and home, conflict, and intimacy. Single parents can also do this as well!
You can use your marriage to help model a healthy relationship and lifestyle to your children.
2. Having a date night with just the two of you
Before you had kids your spouse was likely one of your top priorities. You made time together by rearranging your schedules, sacrificed sleep, and went out of your way to perform thoughtful gestures.
When you decided to have kids or were surprised with a little one on the way, your time and energy became more focused on caring for them. You probably left your marriage behind and not investing in any time on it.
The good news is you can fix this by having a date night. Date nights are great because you can rekindle the moment of your relationship with just getting time away from the kids and being together with just the two of you. Making an effort to remain friends, lovers, and connected is important during your marriage. It creates a foundation for you and your family.
3. Share the responsibilities
Running a home is definitely like running a business (or maybe your own circus!), as there are endless amounts of responsibilities that need your attention. It’s up to you to decide sharing the home chores. You might consider switching cooking meals or even together. Perhaps the dad can fold the laundry. The list is endless.
Sharing the responsibilities with each other models to your children that men and women can share household responsibilities willingly and even happily.
4. Show affection with each other
Showing your children affection is important, but it is also important for them to see you and your spouse showing affection to each other. By showing each other affection, you are modeling to your children what is appropriate, tender ways to be loving, and what is okay and what is not.
Don’t only show your spouse affection when they do something to make you happy. Go out of your way to let the kids see you being affectionate when you pass them in the hallway or asking them to sit with you for a family movie. It’s the no-special-reasons that you give your spouse a kiss or hug that means the most.
5. Fight the right way
Relationships aren’t always perfect. You will have disagreements with each other. It’s the way you handle these arguments in a healthy way, especially if it is in front of your children. In fact, having fights in front of your children can actually be beneficially for your children. Of course this only means if the fighting is fair and civil with each other. Children can learn how to come to a solution through compromise by witnessing how you and your partner progress toward resolving an argument.
It’s important you speak to each other about fair-fighting ground rules. Some of these can be no shouting, no name calling, and no walking away from each other. It is critical you both agree to these ground rules. Being empathic listeners is also helpful for not only you and your spouse, but also shows respect for each other and models to your children to give respect to others and their side of the argument.