From Dr. Jane's Notebook
Staying in Love Raising Children
Over the past few years, I've had the pleasure of speaking to parents of newborns who
attend Wesley Long Community Hospital's Parent's Point Program. This has been a great
opportunity for me to visit the newborns and get to know their parents, who are in the
process of adapting to their new child. Here are a few highlights we've covered.
- Being a Couple is Different from being Parents. When couples enrich and expand their
relationship by becoming parents, it is important to keep both roles. Although parenting
is a job that is very time-consuming and energy-consuming, it is important not to neglect
or forget our other roles as spouse, lover, best friend, confidant, companion and partner.
It is important to maintain as much of our "couple" intimacy as possible, and
nurture both relationships.
- As we become Parents, our parents become Grandparents. As young adults enter the Rite of
Passage into Parenthood, their parents are also experiencing new roles as grandparents. We
often have very high expectations of our parents in these roles. We want them to be the
perfect grandparents! Herein lies fertile ground for developing intergenerational respect!
It is often helpful to discuss our expectations of each other so as to establish "the
rules of the game". This is another relationship where we cannot afford to do
- Compare your Family Histories. We all come from "Familes of Origin". That
means that we all have pictures in our minds of what families should or shouldn't be. By
discussing "His" and "Her" family experiences, couples can begin to
develop an image of what "Our" family should be like. Couples need to negotiate
everything from their desired number of children, religious interests, methods of
discipline, and more. In this way, they can begin to create a compatible picture of the
family they are trying to build.
- Parent Education Classes are a Great Investment. The world changes a lot between
generations. Aside from our own family experiences, there is little imposed education for
"how to be a good parent". With all due respect to your own parents,
child-rearing approaches that worked for them, might not work in your family. It is also
important for Moms and Dads to be on the same wavelength and discuss their views with each
other. Otherwise, parenting can become a power struggle and disagreements can tarnish your
relationship. Parent Education classes and books are available for all ages and stages.
Children need a strong foundation upon which to grow, and that foundation is the bond
between their parents. As parents, we need to maintain healthy and loving relationships in
order for our children to feel secure and to grow well. I recall a conversation in our
family when our children were small. They wanted to know why Mommy and Daddy always went
out for Date Night once a week, leaving them with the babysitter. Our reply was
"Mommies and Daddies need to stay in love". I can still remember their satisfied
smiles as they waved good-bye.
ęCopyright, 1994, 1995, Jane R. Rosen-Grandon. All rights reserved.
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Last Updated October 17, 1998 by Gary M. Grandon,