Even toddlers and preschoolers are affected by marital conflict.
"First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in the baby carriage..." What that little rhyme doesn’t tell you is that conflict and stress often follow the baby carriage. Parents, worn out by parenting duties and work, frequently have raging marital disagreements. If these issues don’t get resolved, children can find themselves caught in the crossfire. Conflict is bound to happen in a marriage, but with respect and love, you can help manage disagreements and grow stronger together as a family.
1Decide if the disagreements are really worth your effort. Choose your battles carefully. Maybe your spouse leaves his dirty underwear on the floor. Is that the hill you’re willing to die on? Accept certain traits or issues that he may be unable or unwilling to change.
2Choose a good time to have a discussion about your disagreements. Late at night after work and a three-hour bedtime struggle with a toddler is probably not the best time. Set aside a time when you both will feel rested and you have a babysitter.
3Focus on a particular issue. This is not the time to bring up your husband’s beady eyes or his obnoxious eating habits. Stick to one conflict at a time and avoid any personal attacks. No name-calling.
4Listen to your partner. Allow him to finish his sentences, even if you think you know what he’s going to say. Hopefully, he’ll listen to you with the same respect. You may even want use a timer to give each of you an uninterrupted five minutes to make your case.
5Look for areas of agreement. You may disagree on most issues, but look for common ground you both can agree on. The more positive areas of agreement you find, the fewer areas of disagreement you’ll have.
6Decide on a solution that both of you can live with. If one of you can’t fully agree, try a solution out for a period of time. If it still doesn’t work, go back to brainstorming. Don’t let the issue die until both partners are pleased with the outcome. After you both agree the problem is resolved, let it go. Let that issue be ancient history.
7Parent with consistency, even if you don’t quite see eye-to-eye on everything. Children, especially boys, act out and display aggression when their parents lack consistency in discipline. Try to get on the same page with parenting choices because aggressive, misbehaving children will only make your marital problems worse.
- No matter the conflict, remember that this is the person you love and chose to marry. He’s also your child’s parent.
- Keep your disagreements away from your kiddos. These little munchkins need peace in their home and need to see you and your spouse as a united front.