The stress of parenting can certainly create stress on a marriage. It is important to work together as a team to help with parenting stress; if you don't work together, this could lead to a negative impact on your marriage or even separation or divorce.
From infancy through the angsty teen years and beyond, each stage in your child's life brings its own unique set of stressors. As they get older, the likelihood of parental stress increases as problems often become bigger. Happiness in marriages tends to decline over time as children grow, especially during the adolescent years, if parents do not properly work together to delegate the stresses the children bring to them.
If your child has behavioral issues or special needs it is more important than ever to seek support as this adds even more stress to a marriage. Having a good support system is very important in cases like these as taking on all the stress yourselves can put a damper on your marriage.
If you are a part of a blended family, there could be many issues added into the mix and it can become complicated. Being a step-parent can be more difficult than being a parent, depending on how the children handle the situation, their age, and their past experiences.
So what can a couple do to ensure their marriage stays strong as they raise their children?
1. Couples must communicate their needs and expectations. Oftentimes, one parent often feels overburdened with the work being a parent requires. If one parent is doing the majority of the disciplining, driving the children to school functions, or helping out with homework and activities, they can feel very much alone in their marriage. If you are feeling this way, it is important to share your concerns with your partner. Talk about finding a way to share the responsibilities of parenting rather than taking it all on yourself. If you set clear expectations there will less likely be conflict regarding parenting responsibilities.
2. Do you ever disagree about punishments for your child? This is one of the most common complaints among couples in marriage counseling. It is important to talk to your partner about your concerns and the differences in your parenting styles and disciplinary actions. Find an appropriate compromise that you can both agree on when it comes to punishments. If need be, have the child leave the room to discuss an appropriate and agreeable punishment.
3. Don't forget to spend quality time together as a couple. Many times, once a couple become parents, their lives center around their children, forgetting about the work a marriage takes. It is incredibly important not to let your marriage fall to the wayside once you have kids. Couples often feel guilty going away without the children or not including their children in all of their activities but doing so is vital to the health of your marriage. It will help strengthen your marriage, reduce your stress, and help you to be better parents together.
4. Do not be afraid or embarrassed to seek support from friends and family when you need it. Try trading childcare nights with another couple so you can both get time to yourselves without the children. There are often parent networking groups that can allow you to get to know other parents with children nearby around the same age as your children.
5. If you are experiencing serious problems you may want to consider seeking formal support from a marriage counselor or a child behavioral therapist. Talk to your child’s doctor if you have concerns about your child's behavior or if you think they may be having developmental delays. Family therapy could be helpful if you are having difficulty with a wide range of family problems and can help you become closer as a family. Couples therapy or marriage counseling can help keep your marriage with your partner going strong or can help rebuild your marriage. Marriage counseling can help you determine goals to help you work together effectively as you parent your children.