You should never make your parenting decisions alone. Remember that you and your spouse are a team; you are the core of your family group, and you need to approach every decision that you make about that family as a team.
When you have open communication, and you discuss choices before you make them, you will both feel:
- Like you are valued and trusted
- Happy with the direction that your family is moving
- Like your opinion was important
- A strong bond that comes from making these decisions together
Parents who work together and who are always on the same page often provide better homes for their children since they reduce stress and prevent disagreements. They also set an excellent example for their own children of what they should be like when they grow up, helping to give them a strong foundation.
What Types of Decisions Should You Discuss?
There are many different decisions that face parents over the years, some of which have legal ramifications and some that do not.
For example, you will need to talk about:
- Which school you want your children to attend
- How many children you want to have and how many you can afford to have
- What activities your children will be allowed to participate in as they grow up, such as school sports or similar groups
- Where you want to live and what your goals are in this regard for five or ten years in the future
All of these things, along with many more topics, can have a massive influence on your family life and the lives of your children. You need to get them all sorted out on time so that you and your children can be happy going forward.
What is Open Communication?
One of the first things that you should think about is what it means to have open communication. It does not just mean telling your spouse what you are going to do before you do it. In reality, it goes much deeper than that.
What you need to do is to take the time to present your ideas and viewpoints before deciding what you are going to do. Then you need to stop and listen to what the other person has to say.
Many couples make the mistake of jumping right over this second step. They are great at talking, but not at listening. However, half of the process is listening, so you need to do this for communication to move in both directions.
Communication with Growing Children
When you set a standard of open communication in your household, it will then spread to your children as they grow up and begin to think for themselves. They will feel like they can come to you for advice and answers. When they start to make the big decisions in life, such as where to go to college or what to be when they grow up, they will turn to you.
A family lawyer will tell you that many teens who lead troubled lives often do not feel like they can talk to their parents. They may be intimidated by their parents, or they may think that their parents will not understand. They can make many poor choices, even some that could lead to legal ramifications because they do not have the guidance that they need.
Make sure that you provide them with this guidance as much as possible.
What Happens When Open Communication Fails?
If your family does not communicate well, it can lead to arguments, disagreements, and fights. In the end, it could even push you to divorce since you will not be on the same page.
A family lawyer will tell you, a divorce often affects children even more than adults. They may also think that the split was their fault, and they can carry this guilt around with them for the rest of their lives.
So work to promote communication and keep the family together. Give your children a safe, warm environment in which to grow up. It’s something they deserve, and you should provide.