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4 months ago · · 0 comments

Married with Kids – When You Clash With Your In Laws

Relationship problems with your extended family often begin when you’re married with kids

family conflict - Married with KidsWhen you fall in love with someone, life seems great

Then you meet your partner’s family and soon enough your in laws become part of your life too. In the ideal world, you would seamlessly slot into your partners extended family and vice versa. Unfortunately this is not the case for many couples and relationship problems often arise, especially after you are married with kids. One of the main reasons for this is that the family dynamics need to change when a new partner settles into a family as a new family ‘team’ is formed.

When you become a ‘couple’, you essentially combine one set of upbringing with another and hope for the best

Relationship problems often arise when a new partner does not seem acceptable to a family. In other words the new partners lifestyle, personality, beliefs or occupation are not accepted by the extended family. This can cause conflict for the person torn between previous and new family values and expectations. For instance, if you have always done whatever your parents ask of you (even if it’s unreasonable) and this conflicts with what your partner is asking of you.

In these situations there needs to be an understanding that adult children will need to develop their own lives and new family rules of behaviour. However, as a parent you can begin to establish family routines that can be maintained even after your children leave the nest, so old and new families can both feel important.

The concept of being a ‘team’ in a partnership is often neglected by many couples when they become married with kids. 

childcare decision - Married with KidsWhen children enter a family, issues with in laws can really intensify. Some inlaws become insecure and possessive of grandchildren. They may be critical of your parenting practices and place demands on when they should have the children. If you are having this experience, it can be very difficult to manage, particularly if your partner is in conflict with you. The ideal thing would be to discuss any concerns you have before your child arrives. Place some ground rules in place early, so potential conflict does not arise.

If you already have children and you are experiencing conflict with in laws, the way you communicate with your partner is vital to keeping the peace within your new family. It’s important to also keep in mind that your partner is trying to keep the peace. This can be difficult when in laws place pressure on your partner to see their point of view.

In order to manage this pressure once you’re married with kids (and not allow it to lead to significant relationship problems), always keep 4 things in mind

1) Always work as a team and get to the heart of these issues so they do not impact your relationship.

2) Do not allow these differences to impact how you feel about, or treat each other.

3) Talk about why you each have your point of view.

4) The key thing to always consider is “what’s in the best interest of our child?”

When considering the fourth point above, ask your partner questions like:

  • what are our family values in terms of how often we want to socialise without our child and how much we want to be the primary influencers of their upbringing
  • is it in the best interest of our child to be left with a grandparent one day per week versus childcare?
  • are you leaving our child in family members care just to appease them and to stop having to feel guilty for saying “no”?
  • how does our child feel about being left in this family members care?
  • do we believe this career physically and mentally capable of looking after our child unsupervised?
  • would this person be a good influence on our child?
  • will our child miss out on important social interactions if grandparent care substitutes childcare?
  • how often should we leave our child with family members – what are we comfortable with?

It’s important to feel confident and comfortable with your child’s carers when you’re married with kids

When you take away the emotion and just deal in the world of facts, you can have a reasoned discussion about how often, where and when in laws should look after your child. This way personal feeling are not hurt and you can look after the best interest of your child. That’s what really matters.

There is no right or wrong way to make decisions about childcare

Your (and your partners) personal and family values and beliefs will have a significant impact on your childcare decisions. For instance, if you have come from a stressful upbringing, you may be more inclined to want to protect your child from any potentially negative influences. In contrast, if you have come from a very warm and caring background, you may be very comfortable with your child being raised by various members of your family.

The most important issue for your new family, is to communicate your feeling. Be specific with your partner about your reasons behind your views on childcare. Be open to your partner’s views and concerns too. This way, you always work as a team with the primary aim of keeping your child safe, secure, healthy and happy.

What if we just can’t agree on childcare?

If you are having difficulties communicating with your partner about these issues, see help now before you experience further relationship problems. Take advantage of our August 2018 special and receive $80 off your first couples counselling session. Simply download your free coupon here and email us at info@happylife.net.au to book in your first session now. OFFER ENDS 30 Aug 18. If you would like to take up this offer, but are unable to attend counselling in Malvern victoria (where our office is located), we offer couples counselling via Skype also.

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marriage counselling offer - married with kids

 

2 years ago · · 0 comments

Are You Tired of Being the Doormat in Your Relationships?

It’s interesting to note that one of the by-products of being a nice person and wanting relationships to work – is accepting less than you are worth just to either keep the peace, or to try to avoid the possibility of someone leaving you.

Women are the most likely candidates for this behaviour. Many women get drawn into the media hype surrounding age and babies and end up believing they have to meet someone before it’s too late. Others interpret failed relationships as a reflection of being unworthy or unloveable. In both instances, when such women meet a potential partner, they put up with much more than they normally would, out of fear the relationship might end.

All relationships need compromise, however this type of compromise refers to behaviours such as accepting friends and family you may not get along with, accepting hobbies and passions you may not find interesting and giving up things you love during times when a partner needs support. These compromises are very different to compromising on being treated with respect (eg accepting your partner regularly ignoring you, or not considering your feelings and needs) or compromising on trust (eg accepting your partner having an emotional affair, or accepting your partners hot & cold feelings towards you based on daily moods).

At the heart of every relationship there must be a strong foundation. Therefore, at the beginning of any new relationship you must be clear about your values and speak up when behaviours make you feel uncomfortable.

I can recall being 16 years of age dating my first real boyfriend who turned out to be a very bad mistake on my behalf – we live and learn. Every time he would come to pick me up from home in his car, he would just beep the horn outside and expect me to run outside. One day, I thought to myself that I was not comfortable with this disrespectful behaviour. So, I waited and waited. Instead of walking up to the door, he drove off. When he arrived home he called me and was furious when I told him I wasn’t going to be treated like that any more. Well, he soon learnt and began to knock on the door to greet me and never again honked the horn outside. Whilst this relationship didn’t work out, I gained huge respect for myself and I learnt how to stand up for myself without fear of consequence.

In all relationships, we must inform others of how we want to be treated. For instance, telling a friend you are not comfortable with her cancelling plans at the last minute regularly, or telling a child you don’t appreciate being spoken to in an aggressive/sharp tone. These boundaries should not be compromised. When you allow yourself to cross that line you never feel good about it, regardless of how well you try to convince yourself there is an excuse or reason behind certain behaviours.

The key ingredient necessary here is self respect. When you respect and value yourself, you feel confident enough to trust that you will always have people who love you in your life. Thus, if others will only be with you if you devalue yourself, you cancouples counselling with happy life walk away with confidence.

We all want to be loved and cared for, but at what cost? By all means give of yourself to care for others, but never compromise on respect and trust. You deserve more.

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