As we enter February, the month of love, it’s a perfect time to examine not only your own relationship with your partner but how your child might view your relationship. You might wonder why, or even if, your marriage matters to your child. You just need to focus on parenting your child, right?
Children are incredibly perceptive. They are watching how you interact with each other, what you say to one another, how you’re feeling. They know when their home life is stable or rocky and will often act out if it’s the latter. Studies have shown that when the parents’ relationship is positive, it positively affects their child’s behavior and vice versa.
Additionally, if you want your child to have a healthy relationship of her own one day, you will have to model a healthy relationship yourself. You’ve heard it said, “more is caught than taught,” and this is absolutely true. When I interviewed marriage expert Dr. Les Parrot for my podcast, he described the home as a child’s “university of relationships; not just for marriage, but for everything.” So that’s where it has to start—in your own home. Your role is to model the type of relationship you hope your child will have one day with his or her future partner.
This doesn’t mean your job as a parent is to have a perfect relationship. We all know that’s impossible, but even in your moments of conflict, you can teach your child something positive or something negative.