Relationships in life can be tough. As parents, we want the very best for our kids including being in healthy relationships. I believe the example we set in our relationships with friends and our partner set the ultimate example for them. Our kids get crazy convoluted and unhealthy definitions of relationships from friends and social media. When we define what healthy is and looks like it creates the framework for them. There are a heap of ingredients, but I’m going focus on the four ingredients for a healthy relationship that can create strength, resiliency and foster a healthy young person.
Raising kids can be overwhelming right?
When they hit the middle school and high school years it can make your head spin. Like, seriously spin. Throw in hormones, emotions and relationships and it’s down right crazy train. Deep breathing, my friends. I believe the dialogue we have with our kids is SUPER important. To rely on their peers, health class or social media to provide the definition of healthy relationships will merely confuse them and create a unhealthy and unrealistic depiction of dating and marriage. So this is where we come in.
Four ingredients for a healthy relationship…
I’m kicking out four (ish) ingredients to provide for our kids when it comes to dating and (ultimately) marriage. Kids think I’m crazy when I use the word marriage. But I believe who our kids view themselves and who they choose to date and how they allow themselves to be treated sets the groundwork for the type of person that they will settle down with. Seems crazy, but our tendencies can become habitual that can then lead to a lifestyle. It’s never, ever too early to start this convo.
Ingredient numero uno:
- Build up don’t tear down: It’s easy to make your partner your punching bag or who you let off steam on when frustrated or on edge. This is a big no no. We get enough crap from the outside world that our wingman in life has to be the person that we make feel better about themselves and do not make feel inferior or questionable in front of others. You may be annoyed with them, want to scream at the top of your lungs or say something mean…just say no. Disagree yes. Say your piece behind closed doors, yes. Tear them down? No. Whether it be a bust on their intelligence, how they dress, their role in your family or at work… don’t make your wingman emotional target practice it’s unfair and unhealthy.
The cool thing is when you uplift, encourage and love the crap out of the person even when you may not feel like liking the person it puts you on a more solid foundation as a couple. What else it does? It makes the person gain confidence, feel When we pick when we degrade our partner ends up (whether we acknowledge it or not – either resenting you or feeling truly inadequate and on the defense to prove they are better than you believe they are….dude, that’s wicked unhealthy). ENCOURAGE one another!!!!
- Communication – Maintain a yell free zone and do not argue in front of kids – break the cycle and communicate in a healthy manner where you are heard and not hurting. Know that when someone is yelling it is not communication it is merely hurting someone else. It angers the other person, gives both a headache. It’s a no win situation. Healthy communication is not always easy, but it ensures that both parties are heard and respected. Chat, don’t yell.
- Cherish /respect your wingman– Seriously. convey that you are in love, super dig and appreciate your person even looking funky fest in their pjs, matted hair, sick days, well days and days they fall flat on their face in life…because we can pick them up with our words. From holding the door for the person, grabbing the last bag of groceries to avoid a second trip, making coffee for them to have when they wake up, leaving notes in their lunch bag / purse/ wallet, making their favorite meal, watching their (not your) favorite movie….it’s amazing how when we cherish the other, they (typically) desire to love the other person even more/ when we appreciate and value it holds crazy weight.
For some being able to cherish or respect their partner may not come easy. This is where the example we set and guiding our kids in developing these attributes are important…almost critical. We live in a world with heaps of toxic examples and depiction of unhealthy relationships and selfishness, we have to be instrumental in changing the tide.
- Never stop dating – Whether it’s once a week or once a month take the time to be together in a non paying bills, washing dishes, running the kids to practice kind of way. maybe that’s going to dinner or maybe it’s sitting on the couch, eating popcorn and watching a movie after the kids have gone to bed. it’s too easy to become distant or to become ships in the night with work, life and laundry. Fight for each other. Leave a note in the others lunch or a flower on their windshield. Make them smile when it may feel like smiling is a struggle with everything around you.
I believe, with all of my heart, that the example we set as parents for what a healthy relationship looks like holds more weight than many realize. If you’re a single parent this holds weight with your friendships and those you may date. Our kids watch our interactions and absorb how we interact with others. It can be easy to not realize that.
Every day is a new opportunity to strengthen ourselves and provide a healthier example of living and relationships for our kids. Keep going forward and fighting a fight for our kids that is never, ever over. Keep on keeping on, my friends!