Are children affecting your couple relationship?

Many couples experience conflict related to child rearing.

Couple conflict related to children or step-children is common, though cannot be blamed on the children. As both parents love the children, differences can emerge on how they should be cared for.

There can be a number of reasons why you have differences, including:

  • how you were raised
  • your personalities
  • how busy you both are
  • different views on discipline
  • conflicting attitudes on freedom and levels of risk for children
  • children's chores
  • choice of schools and extra-curricular activities
  • the special needs of one or more of the children.

In a very busy household, meal and sleep routines can be neglected and the atmosphere can be stressful. Both children and parents find it difficult to thrive in a chaotic household.

    If you are easy-going, you might put up with a lot more than your partner is prepared to tolerate, and if you are a strict disciplinarian, your partner might think you are too hard on the children.

    When you disagree about the children

    Whatever you disagree on, it’s important to find ways to work through your differences for the benefit of the children. Seeing parents argue about them harms children, as they tend to think it's their fault.

    Make the time to talk through the issues and look for compromise. Together you can decide the really important things in your children's lives and reach agreement where possible. If you can’t have conversations about raising the children without anger and recriminations, consider seeing a counsellor to get help.

    Don't forget about your partner

    If you are feeling overwhelmed by caring for children, working and doing a million other things, it's easy to start taking your partner for granted. Try to find time for yourselves, even if you are busy and tired.

    Getting help

    Relationships Australia counselling can help you discuss the issues that are causing you to argue and support you to develop ways to manage the conflict in the future.

    In some states and territories you can also attend a parenting skills course and meet other parents who want to increase their parenting and relationship skills.

    The views or opinions expressed in this information are general in nature and do not constitute professional advice. You may benefit from professional help to deal with individual and complex issues.