Effective Team Parenting

Effective Team Parenting

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 developmental/educational goals.

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 lasting results.

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.


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