f you suspect your own children are coming between you and your partner, and we’re not only talking about sleeping between you in your bed, author and marital therapist Andrew G Marshall would probably confirm that it’s true. Could ‘red-carpet’ parenting be ruining your relationship?
According to Marshall, these days, parents’ good intentions of giving their kids everything they want and need to the detriment of everything else, often sees them being treated as ‘mini celebs’. In time, this status quo will sap both parents of their energy and drive a wedge between them.
Why do we spoil our children?
- We feel we aren’t spending enough time with them.
- We feel we aren’t able to afford all they want and need.
- After losing our tempers with them because we’re stressed, we feel we’re not ‘good enough’ parents.
- We’re afraid of upsetting our kids and losing their ‘friendship’.
- Kids are pros at milking our guilt for all it’s worth.
Choosing their own bed time, what the family should eat for dinner and what you do on the weekend, not surprisingly has kids thinking they’re ‘head of the household’. They’ll never find this kind of superiority among their peers and will struggle to befriend others, negotiate or let others take the lead. No longer do kids’ privileges grow as they do (or do they indeed earn them!). Giving them all their hearts desire right away and allowing them to never accept ‘no’ for an answer might keep the peace now, but know you’ll be raising a monster for you and everyone else to deal with later.
In his book I Love You but You Always Put Me Last: How to childproof your marriage (Pan Macmillan), Marshall aims to turn children into the glue that binds you together, rather than propels you apart. ‘It’s down to getting your priorities right and balancing three key elements: your marriage, your children’s welfare and your own needs.’
Practical tips to getting it right include prioritising your partner over the children (‘You should put your children second!’), greeting your partner first, not letting kids interrupt and putting a lock on your bedroom door, among other wise ideas!
Find I Love You but You Always Put Me Last for R207 at leading bookstores.