Communication: You, Your Partner, and Your Kids
Parenting is a team effort between you and your spouse or partner. Follow these communication tips for a healthy relationship so that you and your partner can be effective parents.
All the Time
- When talking about the kids, say "our child," not "my child" or "your child."
- Regularly schedule time for you and your partner to spend together. It can be as simple as taking a walk or enjoying a hobby together. This keeps your relationship strong.
- Use nonverbal communication. A touch or a hug is a great way to show your appreciation.
- Be a good listener. When your partner is talking, look them in the eyes and be quiet. Take turns talking and don't interrupt.
- Be supportive of your partner. If he or she asks for extra help, lend a hand.
- When the two of you communicate with your child, come from the same point of view, to look like a united team. If the two of you send two different messages, the child will be confused and will not know which parent to pay attention to.
- Remember: your children learn how to communicate with others by copying you!
- Do not ever physically hurt your partner.
- Control what you say before you say it. Do not use swear words, sarcasm or insults.
- Wars come from miscommunication. Use clear, straightforward words. When your partner says something, repeat it back ("Okay, let me make sure I understand. You're saying..."). Use 'I' statements and only talk about the present situation ("I'm frustrated because...") instead of 'you' statements about past arguments ("You're always so...").
- Actions must equal words. Saying "I'm not mad," then pounding your fist on the table sends a mixed message that could make the argument worse.
- Be constructive. When trying to resolve a problem, have some suggestions. Don't just complain and then stand in silence.
- Take time to breathe and step away from the argument if you need to.
- If you do not agree with each other, that is okay. Stay respectful and acknowledge that the other person has a right to their opinion. End conversations politely, even if you are upset.