Communication: You and Your Partner

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.

happy family at the beachAll 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. If trustworthy childcare is unavailable, spend time together after your child has fallen asleep.
  • 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.
  • Approach parenting as a united team. Address issues as a team. When the two of you communicate with your child, support each other when speaking. 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!

During Arguments

  • Do not ever physically hurt your partner.
  • Watch your language and your tone. Do not use swear words, sarcasm or insults. Speak calmly and thoughtfully.
  • 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. If you say "I'm not mad," then cross your arms, it sends a mixed message that could make the argument worse.
  • Be constructive. When trying to resolve a problem, have some suggestions.¬†Avoid complaining and standing 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.

For More Information

Download and print Building Communication in Your Family, a colorful tip sheet from our Parent Resource Library.