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How To Help Your Spouse Be a Better Parent

Dr. Meg Meeker

Dr. Meg Meeker

As parents, there’s a lot we can do individually, but the truth is we really are better together. And the more we realize that the more it should inspire us to be intentional with our spouse in ways that help them be the best mom or dad they can be.

I recently spoke with my friend, Dr. Linda Mintle, all about what it means to help your spouse be a better parent. Now, to be clear – this wasn’t an episode about calling out your spouse on everything they are doing “wrong” or shaming them into submission to parent the way YOU want. Dr. Mintle and I spoke on this subject to encourage parents out there that they can help one another be better – first for the sake of one another and their own relationship and certainly for the sake of their kids.

I strongly encourage you to listen to this episode together with your spouse. I think you’ll be surprised at how easy it really can be to work toward bringing out the best parent possible in one another.

Here are 3 ways you can start learning how to bring out the best parent in your spouse today.

1. Embrace the different communication styles of your partner.

You’ve probably figured it out by now that men and women communicate differently. If you haven’t, then SPOILER ALERT! It’s only natural then, that mom and dad communicate differently to their children, too. For instance, fathers tend to bond with their children by playing, while mothers bond with their kids by talking. Neither way is more right or wrong, they are simply different. When parents acknowledge the different styles of communication with their spouse, they alleviate a lot of pressure in their relationship.

It is important that parents acknowledge and embrace one another’s different communication styles.

It can be easy to make assumptions that your spouse isn’t aligned with you in your parenting because they are communicating differently. For example, I used to believe that my husband was being insensitive because he didn’t talk much or didn’t respond to our kids the way that I thought he should. In reality, he was simply listening more attentively than I was. I misjudged him because I didn’t fully understand nor appreciate his communication style with our kids. Always give your spouse the benefit of the doubt. When we acknowledge and embrace our differences, we are one step closer to parenting successfully.

2. Allow your partner room to parent well.

Moms, this is a tough one for us. Our need/desire to dominate the parenting sphere comes early to us – think back to having a newborn and all the time spent breastfeeding. I’ve always encouraged mothers to breastfeed, but the act of breastfeeding can (inadvertently) push out fathers. To help balance this, I encourage new mothers to let their husbands feed the baby breast milk (or a bit of formula) periodically from a bottle, so he can also bond with the child.

As the kids get a little older, it’s common that one parent will become the disciplinarian while the other becomes the “fun” parent. This is normal, simply due to personality differences. But make sure that you as a parent aren’t dominating one area of parenting and pushing the other spouse out of the way. The truth of the matter is, your spouse does certain things a lot better than you, and you do some things better than them – so make sure you let them do those things!

The reality is, you both have strengths that, if you understand and know how to play to them, can create great strides in your parenting together. Parents are at their best when they empower one another to parent from their strengths. I’m talking specifically to Mom here. We have a tendency to be controlling when it comes to our kids, so we need to take an active step back and let our husbands parent well, too.

Parents are at their best when they empower one another to parent from their strengths.

3. Be intentional about praising the other parent.

It’s easy to get caught up in praising your kids and lifting their self-esteem. It’s even easier to forget to praise your spouse. Moms need encouragement and so do dads!

Parents must make a conscious effort to praise their spouse for who they are on a daily basis.

More often than not, mothers feel undervalued and under-appreciated and fathers feel inadequate in the home. That’s why it’s vitally important to make a conscious effort in praising your spouse for who they are (not just what they do) on a daily basis. Parents, you need to work together and build one another up in your roles – and you may find that it does wonders for your marriage, too.

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