The Power of a couples Connection can electrify the happiness for your children
A guest post by Stuart Fensterheim LCSW, The Couples Expert.
As an emotional focused therapist, one of the things I am certain about is the importance of having a loving relationship as a couple for us as well as our children. Children thrive in a family with loving relationships and parents who care for one another; demonstrating this allows children to blossom. What is becoming more certain for me is the ripple effect that our marriages and/or relationships have on our children’s well being.
At times in my office I hear more couples consider staying together for the children’s sake. More and more I am convinced this is a bad idea. While I understand the complexities and the difficult emotions that may lead you to make this decision, as a marital counselor and family therapist I see the long term impact this can have on the lives of the children we care about.
Do you really understand what you are saying when you consider this? The underlying message is it is acceptable to have a lack of attachments in relationships. The acceptance of this tells our children it is appropriate to have a relationship filled with mistrust, hurt, feelings of abandonment and insecurity. I don’t think this is the message we want to send to our children.
The Impact Of Love And Attachment Theory
What all the research on love and attachment has taught us is no couple no matter the issues need to have a lonely disconnected relationship. We now have a clear path to reaching a connection with our partners if we are willing to do the work.
We must work toward a feeling of emotional safety and be vulnerable with our partners allowing them to see the “real you”,working toward a deeper understanding of each other.
For most couples, this means your partner becomes tuned in on how important they are to you. You will clearly see the negative cycle creates created by these negative interactions in your relationship. You want to be able to structure your relationship as a safe place to express your needs and wants and feel beyond a shadow of doubt your partner truly is there for you. This is all possible although you may need help with finding a pathway to this kind of connection.
Here are some of the reasons your children can be the best motivator to fix a relationship that is disconnected and painful:
· Children are great imitators; this is also true with regards to relationships. Many adult children have relationships similar to their parents relationship. If arguing, name calling, put downs were elements in their parents relationship this was indicative of the kind of relationships they found themselves in.
· Children living with parents with a great deal of disconnect felt insecure, and this insecurity was reflected in poor grades, bad behavior and social insecurity. As a couple you have a great deal of influence on the kind of relationships your children will have.
Some other consequences of living with unhappy parents include:
1. Kids Trying To Be Perfect
These children need to be perfect, which is an impossible task. Children will set unrealistic expectations for themselves. Being around conflict in the home can hamper children’s problem-solving skills and a accurate perception of the world.
2. Anxiety Issues
Anxiety issues, such as sleep disturbances, panic attacks and feeling like the world is an unsafe place is a direct result of all this conflict.
3. Mood Problems
“Silent treatment” has a big effect on childrens moods and feeling of being unimportant to their parents. These children living with the stressful conflicts also became caretakeers and took on a parental role with their parents, feeling they could “help” their parents get along.They stopped being kids and focused on appropriate developmental stages for children growing up.
Working on your relationship is important for your happiness as well as your children’s. Don’t allow the unhealthy interactions become the norm for what your child considers a normal relationship. If you or your child feels like they are living in a battle zone, please get help. You are impacting your own happiness and your children’s future relationships as well.
Denying this problem to yourself or your child will have you feeling like a hypocrite and nothing is worse than not being able to look yourself in the mirror. This façade will impact you emotionally, physically and spiritually; you do not have to live like this.
Seek out the help of a qualified therapist trained in attachment theory who can give you the tools to have an emotionally close, connected relationship with your partner. You all deserve this.
JENNIFER EULBERG, MA, LPC
Welcome Jennifer, our new blogger!
Jennifer is a counselor at Sandhill who specializes in depression, self-esteem, and grief & loss. Get to know Jennifer as she shares her perspectives on life, contemplates value themes, and offers gentle encouragement.
THANK YOU to Stefanie Pisarkiewicz, LPC for her blog contributions from November 2014 - February 2019!