Parenting With Young Children
Are You And Your Partner Struggling As Parents?
Have parenting challenges brought tension and conflict into your relationship or marriage? Perhaps you wonder what happened to the connection you and your partner once shared, but feel too overwhelmed by the stressors of parenting to address issues in your marriage. Do you and your partner disagree about the right way to raise your child? Or, are you unsure how to navigate step parent issues and co-parenting complications, especially if it seems that your child follows different rules in different households? You may worry that conflict and inconsistency in your relationship are negatively impacting your child, not to mention your own personal wellbeing. Do you wish you were able to effectively communicate with your partner and create greater harmony in your home?
Parental stress and relationship stress go hand-in-hand. As you juggle several responsibilities at once, you might question whether your partner is doing his or her fair share. Over time, you may resent your partner for staying home with the kids or going off to work, especially if your partner shows little awareness understanding of how hard your days are. By the time the kids are in bed, you might feel upset, unappreciated and too exhausted to do anything but fall asleep. It might seem that you and your partner just don’t have the time or energy to address and resolve relationship conflict, let alone nurture the emotional and physical intimacy your relationship needs. As time goes on, you may fear that you’re stuck drifting further and further apart.
Parenting Can Strain Any Relationship
All relationships require work. When two distinct, ever-evolving people—with distinct, ever-evolving wants and needs—decide to build a life together, occasional conflict is inevitable. Add the urgent, shifting needs of children, and your emotional and physical energy may be all used up. It’s no wonder so many couples struggle with relationship or marriage problems after a baby.
It’s also increasingly common for parents to remarry, creating blended families with their own new, unique dynamics. Many stepparents feel unsure about their roles in their stepchildren’s lives, especially if they’ve never been parents before. At the same time, parents often wonder how to nurture new relationships without neglecting their children and vice versa.
Regardless of your particular family structure, parenting is hard. It’s normal to feel like you and your partner are doing something wrong. And, social media doesn’t help. As you scroll through photos or read parenting blogs, you may feel ashamed of the issues you’re facing, especially if you only see depictions of perfect families and perfect lives. You may worry that everyone—even your partner—thinks you just don’t know how to be a good parent.
In truth, no family is perfect, and few social media profiles capture the realities of tantrums, spills and silent treatments. No matter what you and your partner are facing, you are not alone, and you haven’t failed as parents. With the help of a qualified therapist who understands relationships and parenting, it is possible to release resentment, find balance and start parenting as a supportive, united team.
Parenting Counseling Can Help You and Your Partner Find Common Ground
As parents and professionals, the therapists at Crossroads Relationship Center know how hard it can be to raise a family, even if you’re doing it with the person you love most. Therapy offers you and your partner a chance to step back from the daily chaos, slow down, work through conflict and create an actionable parenting plan that fits both of your needs.
During safe, supportive, solution-focused counseling sessions, your therapist will help you both express your thoughts and feelings. Together, you can examine the belief that your partner isn’t doing enough and learn to recognize and appreciate all the ways your partner supports you. Without judgment or blame, you can help your partner better understand the challenges you face during your day and clarify what you need to feel supported. As you develop greater empathy for one another, you can let go of tit-for-tat thinking, recognize your partner’s role in the relationship and find ways to create balance.
Once you build a foundation of mutual gratitude and respect, your therapist can help you identify effective parenting strategies or step-parenting skills that are tailored to your unique family. After each session, you and your partner can leave feeling more equipped to gracefully negotiate disagreements as they arise, without undermining one another in front of kids or co-parents. With practice and a new parenting toolkit, you can feel more empowered, not only as individual parents, but also as a unified parenting team.
In addition to practical parenting tools, parenting therapy offers validation and relief. Raising a child to be a decent person is serious, stressful work, but it can also be silly and surprising. As you work with a therapist who’s been there, you can laugh about how ridiculous, messy and fun the whole thing is. You and your partner can come to understand that mishaps and mayhem are normal, and that no one has all the answers. Then, with forgiveness and grace, you can appreciate that you’re both doing your best.
You may have questions or concerns about couples counseling for parents…
Our therapist will judge our parenting.
As qualified therapists, it’s our job to support and empower you to make lasting changes. We are not here to lecture you or impose shame, blame or guilt. During sessions, your therapist will actively listen to your experience and offer honesty, encouragement and validation. By identifying everything that you and your partner are already doing right, you can develop parenting strategies that capitalize on your strengths.
I don’t want to hear my partner criticize my parenting.
If you and your partner are struggling right now, it is possible that he or she believes some negative things about your parenting. You might secretly feel the same way about him or her. While it’s okay to feel frustrated by your co-parent, if you don’t have the tools needed to productively communicate those parenting issues, you’re unlikely to make positive changes.
In therapy, you and your partner can create new language for articulating and hearing each other’s needs. You can express yourself without applying judgment and listen to your partner without feeling judged. Then, you can figure out a plan to collaboratively resolve conflict, now and in the future.
Between work and school and everything else, how can we find time for parenting counseling?
Although it may feel like another responsibility, counseling for parents is all about self-care. After all, the stronger you both feel as a parenting unit, the stronger you can feel as individuals, too. By investing time in counseling, you can show your children that it’s okay to seek help, demonstrate healthy relationship habits and model effective conflict resolution. And, by changing your response to stress, you can change the entire dynamic of your family life, replacing ineffective patterns with habitual support, patience and respect.
Become True Partners In Parenting
We invite you to call us today at 408-228-3512. You can ask any questions you may have about Crossroads Relationship Center and parenting therapy in Los Gatos, CA.