Children always have parents, regardless if the parents are married,
separated or divorced. As parents, it is a major responsibility to raise our
children to become healthy adults, which includes all dimensions of their being:
physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual. Effective parenting requires
leadership. The way in which parents organize themselves will often determine
their success in achieving these goals. For optimum success, parents need to
work as a team.
Successful team parenting requires that members of the team respect and
appreciate each other. Every person is absolutely unique, no two people have the
exact same talents. These differences must be for a good purpose, and that
purpose is to complement each other.
As parents, realizing that you are a perfect match, the challenge is to act
upon this awareness in daily life. One way to help accomplish this is to commit
yourself to the belief that each partner complements and enhances the other. If
a father exhibits more leadership, direction and limit setting, let him be in
charge of getting the kids to clean their rooms and go to bed on time. If the
mother is more patient, nurturing, and understanding, let her comfort and
encourage the children. If it turns out that the father is more nurturing, let
him be the comforter. It doesn't matter who does what, only that you utilize all
your resources and apply them directly towards accomplishing your
Doing what each does best is not an excuse for a parent to artificially limit
himself or herself. Sometimes doing that which is difficult is often just the
right prescription for personal and marital growth. The point is to appreciate
the differences between husband and wife, father and mother, male and female,
and to utilize these differences for the benefit of the entire family, not to
use them as ammunition to wage war via criticism, shaming, etc.
It is important for husband and wife to be friends. If they are going to work
well together as a team, they must enjoy each other's company. Sharing life
together is one of the best ways to help foster friendship. Make sure a high
percentage of your activities together are pleasurable. This will encourage
positive feelings and optimism about the future. Holiday meals, trips, etc., are
perfect for husbands to spend quality time together with the family. A small
"generation gap" between parents and children is healthy. Husbands and wives
need some life together separate from the kids. Find time in your busy schedule
to do things and go places together as a couple. Just be friends.
Working together requires consistent cooperation. If you and your spouse have
agreed that bed time for the children is 8:30, then you both must stick to this
agreement. Consistent application of agreed upon rules are needed to ensure
Sometimes it happens that your spouse makes a spontaneous decision or
interaction with the children. You may not agree with the way things were done.
However, considering your overall goals of working together cooperatively, it is
best to hold your tongue for the moment. Having a fight in front of the kids
benefits no one. Later, if you decide it will be helpful to mention your
differing view, you should carefully. Select a later time and place to discuss
it. It is very important to keep in mind your final goal and not get lost over a
minor issue. Again, appreciate your differences and the fact that you are both
trying very hard, often under adverse and stressful circumstances.
Every team occasionally encounters difficulties. One way to get past the
rough spots is to arrange formal meetings to plan, suggest, and give and receive
feedback. Discuss with your partner when would be a comfortable time to discuss
what has happened and what you would like to happen in the future. When having a
formal meeting it is necessary that both of you are relaxed, in the right mood,
and will not be disturbed by interruptions.
When it comes to child rearing, many professional family counselors agree
that the best single thing you can do for your children is to "love your
spouse," i.e., love the mother or father of your children.