6 Parenting Lies That Can Affect Your Marriage

Most parents struggle with priorities.  It doesn’t matter if you have one child or several kids, orchestrating a balanced life sometimes seems next to impossible.  Juggling housework, job, kids, homework, activities, and a spouse is enough to make anyone’s life seem thrown off kilter at times. Add to that a kid who isn’t fairing well in his current circumstances and emotionally we’re pulled toward that child over the rest of the family.

I would know.  Living a balanced life with four kids under my roof was a challenge for me.  I not only believed some of the lies that permeate our culture but I could also put that struggling child’s needs first as well as easily get wrapped up in the spotlight of the successful child’s endeavors.

Here are some of the lies I embraced as well as others I am seeing parents put into action:

  • My job is to create a happy life for my kids.
  • I need to offer my kids every opportunity to be all they can be.
  • I need to watch every game, recital, or activity to let my kids know that I’m here for them.
  • I should put all my energy into the kids since they’ll be gone before I know it.
  • I can “fix” the child who is struggling if I just try harder.
  • I’m the mom, I know what’s best for my child better than anyone else, including my husband.

Whatever plays out in your parenting, know that these are lies the enemy would love us to embrace.  If we do, we’ll be exhausted and so child-focused that there will be no hope of balance, especially as our kids move into the teen years.  We can become so enamored with each new stage of discovery with them reliving our own childhood or  we can become so focused with the fear of what they will choose that we become the overzealous parent trying to keep that child from crossing the lines.  Either way, balance will be skewed.

But where does that leave our marriage?  Does our spouse fall outside the priority box because of our parenting? Do we choose to prioritize our kid’s needs, desires, or whims, over the person who should be our soulmate?

It is easy to become so kid centered in our parenting that our spouse can sit on the sidelines barely on our radar.  There are moments when you pass in the wind telling the other person that you’ll see them at the end of the 18 year kid commitment.  “They’ll be off on their own before you know it” becomes yet another lie that we believe as we push our relationship with our spouse into some far off future.

Do we take time to cultivate our relationship as two parents working side by side or do we bark orders and cast blame when it comes to how our spouse interacts with the kids?

Our family has been under a tremendous amount of stress.  Not only did we lose our daughter suddenly, but I have a son who has been in tremendous physical pain with no medical answers.  Finances have been challenging due to expenses we could never have begun to anticipate.  Tension has been high.  Yet, peace is permeating my thoughts.  I recognize it as a peace that can only come from God.  But yet I’ve gained a new awareness that the peace also stems from somewhere else–someone else.  That peace comes in knowing that my soulmate is here to soothe the anxiety in my soul.  We’re on the same page with the goal of running the race, together.

The thing I want to communicate is that as your kids move into junior high and high school, there will be conflict.  Chances are that you and your spouse will have very different ideas on what your children should and should not be allowed to do. It puts pressure on the family, especially the marriage.  If your spouse is not a priority and if you’ve not begun communicating early about how the two of you will navigate those rocky roads of the parenting journey, then not only will the parenting lies have you focused on the wrong priorities, but your marriage will most likely come under attack.

1 Peter 5:8

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

As I look around today at the stress on parents to have perfect kids or kids who at least think like their parents do, it is no wonder that divorce is high.  Add to that the number of parents who are worried about potential issues of alcohol, drugs, pregnancy, cutting, same-sex relationships, suicide, and a host of other issues that plague our kids today, it’s no wonder that our lives are out of balance.

Dare you to looks at the balance in this stage of your life.  Focus on becoming a united team as husband and wife as you parent your kids.  By doing so you will not only have someone to grow old with once the kids have moved out, but you’ll be modeling balance and a good marriage to a generation that needs to know that a successful marriage is possible even when trouble comes.

“Let go…and let God”,

If it is time for you to make a concerted effort to parent together, why not start with With All Due Respect: 40 Days to a More Fulfilling Relationship with Your Teens & Tweens .  It is a great book to start the parenting discussion on 40 different parenting topics. 

Or, if your husband won’t participate, then try getting a group of moms together.  You’ll find ways to encourage each other whether dad is involved in your kid’s lives or if you are parenting alone.  Either way, we know that your relationship with your teens and tweens will be more fulfilling than it is today.

Dare you!




Summertime — Great Time to Get Dad Involved!

Summer is a great time to get Dad involved with the kids and Mom can serve her husband well if she becomes the relationship architect.  Creating that special “thing” that they do together helps a lot in forging a relationship outside of the daily to-do list of life–like clean your room, take out the trash, and the barking of orders that some dads find as the only way to relate to their kids.  

Just the other day, my youngest and his dad were able to get back on the tennis courts after having to take a year respite after major surgery.  The smile on their faces was priceless as they came off the courts.  “Boy, Dad, I’ve really missed that.”

“Me too, son!”

It was as if they had rekindled a friendship that had been put on hold for too long.

Need some ideas on how to be that relationship architect for the Dad who struggles with time to connect?

Tom was a project and fix-it kind of guy. He thought through what he wanted to accomplish each evening and most every weekend. Mow the lawn, trim the bushes, paint the siding…he would tackle his list in the same manner he handled his day job…with tenacity. The neighbors all raved about how nice the house always looked. His boss told him regularly how much he was valued in the organization. The church liked having him on committees. Barbara loved that he was so accomplishment driven! That’s why she married him.

However, with many years of working prior to becoming a father, Tom had mastered the art of being a focused workaholic.

Barbara had learned the hard way to give Tom a few days’ notice if she had something to do on a Saturday and would need him to watch the kids once the little ones had come along. Oh, he was more than willing to take the boys and go do something fun or play with them in the backyard. They would have a great time together! It just needed to be on Tom’s schedule. As long as he could still get something “accomplished” during the day, everything was good. Barbara began to realize that they needed to work together to “master” the schedule if there was going to be any family connection. Tom had not grown up with a family that “played” together. Spontaneity didn’t come easily.

Now that the boys were hitting puberty, Barbara knew that her early encouragement for Tom to have relationship with the boys was paying off! She could honestly say that the little boy in Tom was finally having a chance to bloom and her boys were the beneficiary of his many talents.

As she watched her “men” get in the car to head to the tennis courts, she remembered well a discussion that had taken place several years prior.

“Barbara, you need to be his cheerleader! You need to give him permission to take a day off work. You need to thank him for all the hard work he does for the family. Thank him for the projects he does around the house. Then ask him what fun things you can plan for the family. Tom doesn’t think that way. You need to help him think of fun things to put on the list.”

What wise counsel she had received.

Taking Meg’s advice, when the boys were younger, Barbara encouraged the boys in sports that Tom had enjoyed in high school. “If they can come to love the game of tennis, they’ll connect with their dad when they’re old enough to play,” she thought. So every opportunity, Barbara would see that the boys were taking tennis lessons to develop their skills. Basketball was another thing she knew Tom enjoyed, so Barbara suggested they install a basketball hoop next to the driveway. Tom thought it was for the boys, but she knew better. It was for family connection.

Barbara had become the master family scheduler with Tom’s permission. “I know you want to connect with the boys,” she had offered up. “Let me help you do that so that you know you not only have time to get things accomplished around the house, but that your boys will have a relationship with you as they grow older. I promise to let you know the plan well in advance.” With that, she put the schedule in motion. A two hour block to do something “special” with each of the boys once a month with the fourth week being her special time and a family fun time at least once a week.

Sometimes it was something that took no planning, like biking through the park or going to get ice cream. Other times, she would encourage Tom to get involved with the boys in what each of them enjoyed. Brad enjoyed video games, so Tom would spend time playing with him. It obviously wasn’t Tom’s “thing”, but it helped him gain a talking framework of what was going on in Brad’s head. Nick was into baseball, so they’d go to the park and work on catching fly balls. Derek was still at the stage of loving the animal world. Together they’d go down to the creek to catch tadpoles and, at Tom’s suggestion; they had built an outdoor terrarium for Derek’s turtles that he found, mixing Tom’s love for accomplishment with Derek’s excitement for turtles.

Watching the boys run upstairs trying to see who would make it first to the shower after their tennis match, Barbara put her arms around Tom and looked in his eyes. “Honey,” she said. “Thank you for being such a good dad and connecting with the boys! I’m so glad I married you.”

1 Thessalonians 5:11

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

Some men are natural connectors, but others haven’t had it modeled and don’t know where to start.

Dare you to encourage your husband to be involved in their tweens and teens lives. Create opportunity through encouragement. Be his cheerleader!

“Let go…and let God,”

Does it feel like your tweens don’t listen when you’re talking? Or maybe you don’t feel like your teens respect you? Tired of the conflict?  Get the skills you need to connect with your kids! Click here to receive our new free 5-session email course.