Will you wait until your child says “Mom and Dad, spend time together?”
In a perfect world, parents would always have equal time for their kids and for their partners. However, the reality is demanding. Reality calls for parents to spend more time working. And it calls parents to spend more time with their kids while their partners work around the clock to provide for everyone. In a perfect world, we do not have to worry about having gaps in our relationships. But, the harsh reality is that even familial relationships can drift apart and it can leave quite an effect on the children.
Mom and Dad Together – Always, Always Make Time
Young couples and expectant parents have it all planned out. Spending quality time together then spending time to play with the kids then focus on working. When all planned out, it seems like it is the easiest thing to do. However, reality comes in and the picture-perfect plan gets rearranged, leaving some factors compromised. As soon as the children come, priorities change. There is a need to work more hours and to spend more time with the kids. Spending quality time as a couple gets left behind.
Expectedly, parents take on their roles religiously often forgetting that they are a couple. Forgetting that they also need to make time for their relationships with their partners. One may be too absorbed and drowned in work and the other may be too busy working around the house. In their eyes, they are working together seamlessly for the sake of the family. But their relationship as a couple is the foundation of the family, what happens when they don’t spend enough quality time then?
Strains in the relationships worsen more when you do not spend time with each other; when work and life balance is not attained. Not spending enough time around each other impends communication and other relationship foundations that you worked so hard on before marriage. Yes, quiet alone times are welcome for the growth of the relationship but balance is necessary to make the entire relationship work. Never forget the effort and time you both gave when you were starting out, make sure to maintain it for the long run.
Mom and Dad, Spend Time Together – How Estrangement Affects Your Children
If you are starting to see or feel signs that you and your partner are starting to drift away, make time. The only solution is the source of the problem. Time is your ally and fiend. And if you think that losing your connection with your partner is bad enough, not spending enough time with them also affects your children in more ways than you think.
Spending time with one another is as important as spending time with your children. Your kids deserve parents who can show them how healthy relationships work. You also owe as much to yourself.
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Weakened Family Bond
The most obvious effect of parental estrangement is, of course, weakened family relationships. Your relationship as a couple serves as a foundation for your family and a prime example of your children on how it is supposed to work. If they see that both of you go around the house without communicating, merely existing, the kids will think that they can do it too. Similarly, they will act the same towards you. The effect may not be the same for everyone, but it is highly possible.
Similar to a building, a weak foundation is a liability. It can even be the primary cause of its destruction. Your relationship is the foundation. Having no quality time together causes the foundation to crumble. See the grave impact of not spending much needed quality time with your partner? The weak bond trickles down reflects on your relationship with your children.
Again and again, your relationship with your spouse is the first example of relationship for your children. More or less, the ways they deal their future relationships will reflect yours. They, most likely, will pick up the ways on how you show affection and how you deal with conflicts. When they rarely see how their parents interact and deal with problems, they have a vague idea on how to deal with their own problems. Furthermore, they will also have a hard time bouncing back from said problems.
A healthy relationship is not devoid of problems. A healthy relationship faces hardships common among couples but they solve them using healthy methods. When you don’t have time to bond together, unsurprisingly, you also won’t have time to solve problems together. When your kids have problems, you have different methods of dealing with them. The uncertainty of the entire situation leaves the children confused and in doubt. Always questioning which suggestions to follow until they grow older.
Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms
When your child tells you, “Mom and Dad, spend time together,” they probably feel broken. Similar to poor resiliency in dealing with problems, growing up with estranged parents can result in unhealthy coping mechanisms. Unhealthy coping methods often include aggression and bottling up emotions. Either they lash out or they cave in. To make matters worse, some children develop both.
As the children grow older, they understand the situation of their parents better and they come up with their own conclusions. Seeing that their parents don’t have time for each other, they might not have time for their children too. When they see that their parents are too focused on their work, some kids do their best not to get in the way and cave in. Often thinking that their parents don’t need more distractions; thinking that their problems will go away once they won’t talk about them.
Bottling up emotions is highly unhealthy. Depression and problems with anxiety are likely to happen because of too many negative emotions. The child might know its adverse effects but when they see that their parents barely interact, do they even have the opportunity to ask for help from them? As parents, we must take on the responsibility not to cause and press the downfall of our children.
On the other hand, some kids take on the road of aggression. They lash out. Lashing out can either be a sign of asking for attention or they simply do not know another way to process their emotions. It might also be a reflection of what they saw in their parents’ relationship early on. Dealing with aggression is as difficult as dealing with children who bottle up their emotions. Both are guarded with impossibly high walls. And all of it is primarily because they didn’t have healthy examples of how relationships work in their childhood.
Engages in Careless Behavior
Another waterfall effect from poor coping methods is engaging in careless behavior. Careless behavior are generally any act or decision that brings more harm than good. Mostly, these are actions done without regard for any consequences. The doer do not seem to care for their personal safety much less the welfare of others.
You might wonder why not having enough quality time with your partner will result to something so grave as careless behavior in your children. This usually results if one of the main reasons for your interactions with your partner is also faulty behavior. They might think that acting out or doing something out of the ordinary is one of the ways to gather attention and time.
It is a behavior that can be corrected early on, but if either parent also lacks time for their children then they wouldn’t have noticed its onset.
Lastly, the lack of connection between parents affects the children emotionally, which later on seeps into their mindset and actions. Seeing that their parents do not have enough time for one another, it is highly possible that they will develop a certain negative mindset about families and relationships. They might begin to think that everyone is easily replaceable. Even their parents can easily replace their partners, what more other people who are not bound to them by a piece of paper or a promise of commitment.
Will you wait until the tone of “Mom and Dad, spend time together” hits an all-time negative?
With this way of thinking, the child begins to act accordingly. Since they think that everyone is easily replaceable, they begin to treat themselves and others are someone replaceable. They act carelessly around them. They might also begin to distance themselves from possible attachment figures. If it is so easy to be replaced, then why should they be attached in the first place, right?
The adverse effects of not having enough quality time with your partner and not showing it enough to your children goes a long way. It seeps into the child’s way of thinking, perspective, and everyday behavior. Sure, these can be corrected over time but it might be a tad too late for budding relationships that they were able to build over time. However, these effects do not show up overnight. Call it as a light at the end of a long and winding tunnel, but there is still hope. If you are starting to notice that you and your spouse are on the brink of drifting away, do something about it as soon as possible.
Spend Some Couple Quality Bonding
When couples become parents, they often put their children first then their partners second. Later on, it becomes children first, work, then partner. Much later, when things take a down turn, all other things are prioritized over the partner. We must not let this happen. Your relationship as a couple should not be forgotten, much more, neglected because of its importance to the overall family dynamics.
You may be too busy with work and with dealing with the children to spend some time for your husband or wife, but these moments do not require you to detach from your other responsibilities. What it needs is a bit of extra time and extra effort from both parties.
Don’t let children carry the burden of your personal indifference enough for them to say, please, Mom and Dad, spend time together.
Here are some of the easiest ways to spend some quality time with your partner.
Spend Time Alone Together
Before your other responsibilities catch up with you, you can start your day with your partner. Spend 10 to 15 minutes everyday to catch up, to talk about things that are important to you. You can do this as you make your breakfast, as you brew your coffee, or as soon as you wake up. If possible, avoid talking about your work for the meantime. Talk about the things that you can easily talk about before you raised your family.
If having some alone time in the morning isn’t enough, then you can do it at night. As you do your nightly routine, engage in a conversation or just be present for them. There might be more things that you don’t know about your partner now because of how demanding life is. Spending some time alone together with someone you are always around is very much necessary and comforting.
Schedule Fixed Date Nights
Ah, date nights. You might scare away from the idea of fixed date nights. To ease your concern, No, it doesn’t need to happen every week. It can be a monthly affair or bi-monthly, even quarterly if both of you are really caught up with other responsibilities. Just make sure that both of you look forward to these date nights and it is not something that you consider a chore.
Going out on dates is not an exclusive affair for new and young couple. In fact, it is a necessary occurrence for couples of all ages and experiences. At these moments, both parties remember and act like a couple again. For a short while, both are not parents nor workers who always have to catch up with never-ending demands.
Mom and Dad, Spend Time Together and Do Something Exciting
In line with scheduled date nights, you can use these date nights to do something new and exciting together especially when you have been together for a long time already. Doing new and exciting things together makes the spark of your relationship burn brighter again. It is a means of creating new memories that are outside the parameters of your family and children. For older couples, it is a way to reminisce their youth and the beginning of their relationship. Who knows, you might learn more about the quirks and qualities of your partner through these new experiences.
Relationships drift apart all the time but we won’t just watch and let it happen in families, especially between the bond of the parents. Spending some quality time together is a must regardless of how busy each partner is. Both can choose to spend it over a cup of coffee or over a hearty meal. All it needs is extra effort to maintain a healthy relationship as a couple and as a family.