Communication with your spouse will drastically affect your parenting.
I’ve worked with a lot of parents who struggle with various child-raising issues and often by the end of the coaching package it has become very evident that the real problem was not necessarily their parenting strategy, but their agreement and communication as a couple.
So in the interest of helping parents do their job better, I want to address communication because that is the key to effective and peaceful parenting.
I’ve talked a lot about communication tips but in this post, I want to focus on the things couples do that will sabotage their communication. You may do these things unintentionally and probably don’t even want to do them, but please be aware: They can destroy healthy communication.
5 Things That Will Sabotage Your Communication
Busyness. Between kids, jobs, house management, and extra activities, good communication is often the first thing to suffer. You’re too tired or too busy to have the much-needed conversations that will keep you connected and on the same page in your marriage and in your parenting.
At our premarital counseling in 1982, our counselor encouraged us to have daily check-ins to keep the communication lines open. So every day, when we met up after being separated, we’d sit down for few minutes and give each other a summary of the day. The purpose was to reconnect by understanding where each other was coming from emotionally and physically.
We started those daily check-ins from day 1 of our marriage and, as the years wore on, often had to work around kids and sports schedules, but we worked at making them a priority. It is one of the reasons I believe that we’ve been able to maintain good communication for so many years.
The question to ask yourselves: Do we work at connecting every day, no matter how busy we are? Are we making our relationship a priority?
Reacting instead of Responding. When you react to a situation based on how you feel in the moment it often leads to saying things that you should not say, things that cause your spouse to shut down instead of open up. In parenting as in marriage, it’s important to take the time to RESPOND instead of REACT.
The question to ask yourselves: Do I give myself a time-out or a few minutes to calm down before I react and say something I regret?
Boredom. The longer you are married, the easier it is to fall into ruts as a couple. Boredom can contribute to half-hearted conversation and crush the desire to work on good communication. If you feel bored in someone’s presence, you are less likely to be an active listener and an engaged communicator.
The question to ask yourselves: Do we allow ourselves to fall into ruts or do you look for ways to do things differently and do different things.
Debt and financial stress. I read in one that 42% of U.S. adults said they have disagreements about money with their partners, and 27% said it happened weekly or monthly. Since our marriage in 1982, we’ve argued more about money than anything else. Conflict and stress kill the desire to communicate well.
The question to ask yourselves: Do we argue a lot about money and let if affect how we treat each other? If so, what can we do to change it?
Pain from the past. Pain from the past can hinder healthy communication because it can be the underlying cause of a person’s reactions and at the heart of many misunderstandings. If that pain is not confronted and dealt with, it will continue to fester and hurt the relationship.
The question to ask yourselves: Have my spouse or I identified pain from our past that is undoubtedly impacting our communication? If so, are we looking for ways to move past that pain and heal from it?
What would you add to this list of saboteurs? Do you feel that any of these have negatively affected your communication with your spouse? If so, then there’s a good chance that it has also affected your parenting stress and effectiveness. If you’d like to learn more about how to get on the same page as parents, please schedule a free intro call here.