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Changing Priorities

by Maxine
Posted May 12 2011 11:17am
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For most couples, there just isn’t enough time to do everything that needs to be done. That means that choices are made about what gets done and what has to wait. Parents may even find that their priorities aren’t the same. This can lead to conflict, for example, if Dad is worried about finances, while Mom is worried about the safety of their older model car.

In life, priorities change and that’s totally normal. Being aware of each others' priorities can help to decrease friction and increase your ability to support one another. Download and complete the My Priorities worksheet. First, fill in your own personal priorities and then share them with each other. After sharing, you may want to alter or add to your list of priorities.

Download the My Priorities Worksheet (PDF)

Your priorities will change as your baby grows and new challenges will emerge. We recommended you review your My Priorities worksheet about every 6 months.

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Joint Parenting Team Plan for Baby

by Maxine
Posted May 12 2011 11:23am
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Review the following common baby care tasks – tasks that parents need to take care of. Share your thoughts with each other and develop a plan for how you will manage each. If you are not sure yet, don’t worry, review this after a week at home with your new baby and again after the first month. You will probably make some changes based on your actual experience. Use this worksheet not only to plan for baby, but also to identify what might become points of disagreement for the two of you.

Download the Joint Plan Team Plan for Baby Woksheet (PDF).

 

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Creating a United Front

by Maxine
Posted May 12 2011 11:29am
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Do you and your partner agree on everything? Of course not! It’s unusual for two parents to agree on everything. But we do know that the more parents agree, the easier it is to work together as a team. In the end, this allows your child to grow up in a more consistent and positive environment.

Mother: Sweetheart, Antoine looks much better in red. Why don’t you put his new red shirt on him instead of the blue one?
Father: “Red! What are you talking about? I think that blue is his best colour!”

Do you and your partner agree on everything? Of course not! It’s unusual for two parents to agree on everything. But we do know that the more parents agree, the easier it is to work together as a team. In the end, this allows your child to grow up in a more consistent and positive environment.

Below, you’ll find a worksheet that is made up of common areas related to your baby. These are areas where some parents have difficulty finding a common ground. Together with your partner, fill out the worksheet and identify the areas where you present a united front, those where you need to have some further discussion and the areas where you may have to learn to live with some differences. Review the areas where you do not agree. Decide whether you need to find a compromise or if it’s okay to have different beliefs.

Download the Creating a United Front Worksheet (PDF)

 

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Avoiding Competition over Parenting

by Maxine
Posted August 19 2010 12:06pm
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Here are some more tips from our experts to help you and your partner avoid competing over your differing parenting strategies.

Society’s influence

Be aware of how society's expectations may be influencing how each of you approaches parenting. If you’re like the majority of new parents, neither of you is an expert. Research shows that in this day and age, moms are no more knowledgeable, skillful or confident at handling babies than dads are—although society expects moms to be more expert. In large blocks of Canadian society, dads are not expected to know anything at all about babies, and there are pressures to give moms the lead in parenting.

Think this over—and talk it over. In your situation, is Mom really more knowledgeable about parenting than Dad? If she is the "expert" parent, is that the way you want it to be? There is no one correct way to answer these questions, but it may help to discuss your views about this with one another.

Your baby’s favourite

Don't let your baby's natural preference for one of you at a particular time trigger guilt or insecurity. It's normal for children to have some preference for the person with whom they spend the most time. For tiny babies, that person is usually Mom, and in some cases, it's Dad. However, most babies are also interested in any person who comes into their lives, especially a playful, smiling person.

In Canada, moms frequently take on most of the routine care of infants and spend the most time with them. Dads, while providing less routine care, are no less important in their babies' lives. Much of their time spent with baby is playful and activity-driven. Babies frequently prefer receiving care from one parent and play from another. It's important not to let this slip into a competition. Your baby needs both of you.

Equal tasks

Make sure that each of you shares fun tasks as well as difficult ones. Taking care of your baby is demanding and relentless. It’s essential that each of you has fun with your baby.

Criticism hurts

Each of you is probably sensitive to criticism from the other. Research shows that over 90% of new parents say that parenting is the most important thing they do and yet, they know little about parenting and child development. So there they are, with a tiny precious bundle and little idea about what to do.

In many cases, both parents fear failure at this most important responsibility. This makes them very sensitive to criticism, especially from each other. It is even worse for dads because they already have society telling them they are inferior to moms at parenting. The bottom line? Avoid criticizing each other.

 

Remember to compliment and encourage each other's parenting style. Parents who support each other generally have children who are better adjusted than the children of parents in conflict. Offer each other help and support. You made this baby and now, you're in this together! Genuine compliments and encouragement about each other's parenting style go a long way towards making a happy family.

Keep your couple relationship healthy and strong. The relationship you have as a couple will have a direct impact on your relationship as parents, a parenting team and a family.  With the added responsibilities of parenthood and care of a new baby, it is important to spend time as a couple.  (LINK to Quality couple time articles.)

 
How do you avoid competing as parents? Share your tips by leaving a comment below.

 

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