Parents often feel like two ships passing in the night once a baby arrives—and even long after. Here are some communication tips to put the wind back in your sails and help you navigate both calm and rough waters.
Do you feel like a proverbial ship passing your spouse in the middle of the night? Have you two had five minutes of conversation lately without one interruption or another? Have you encountered some storms in the process—unexpected wind and waves, lack of fresh water and reinforcements, or an unanticipated sandbar? Take heart: effective parent-to-parent communication is the lighthouse you’ve been looking for! It will help you successfully navigate through life’s roughest—and smoothest—days.
Dr. Stephen R. Covey, author of the bestselling book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, claims, “communication is the most important skill in life.” And intuitively we know this to be true. Yet many of us wander into marriage without possessing the foggiest idea of how to sail through its waters. Enter baby: the ocean swells. Baby grows: the waves crash against the shoreline. Your kids turn into teens: well, the tidal waves are just too big to even warrant discussion here!
But let’s face it, marriage and family require personal interaction and interpersonal communication skills par excellence. None of us are interested in barely functioning as husband and wife, or as parents. We’re interested in forming marriages and families of excellence. And that requires advance planning.
The Before and The After
Before you had children, effective family communication was all about “you two.” You were a married unit. You were able to resolve issues and discuss options and opportunities through quiet conversation. But after baby enters your world, it’s becomes all about “us.” And communication takes on a significance previously unimagined. You quickly discover that effective communication within the confines of your new, young family is not enough; communication outside of your family—with its added texture and dimension—is required as well. The opinions and unsolicited advice of siblings, in-laws, pediatricians, school administrators, children’s friends, and caretakers will enter your communication equation whether you like it or not.
Effective Parent-to-Parent Communication Doesn’t Happen by Chance!
Zig Ziglar, popular motivational speaker and bestselling author, says that 85 percent of your success depends on relational skills, or on how well you interact with others.
Building effective communication skills with your spouse does not happen by chance. You need a cohesive plan that will take not only your spouse’s best interests to heart, but your child’s and your entire family’s as well.