Parenting Decisions And Open Conversation

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You should never make your parenting decisions alone. Remember that you and your spouse are a team; you are the core of your family group, and you need to approach every decision that you make about that family as a team. When you have open communication and you discuss choices before you make them, you will both feel:

  • Like you are valued and trusted
  • Happy with the direction that your family is moving
  • Like your opinion was important
  • A strong bond that comes from making these decisions together

Parents who work together and who are always on the same page often provide better homes for their children since they reduce stress and prevent disagreements. They also set a good example for their own children of what they should be like when they grow up, helping to give them a strong foundation.

What Types of Decisions Should You Discuss?

As a family lawyer Toronto has to offer will tell you, there are many different decisions that face parents over the years, some of which have legal ramifications and some that do not. For example, you will need to talk about:

  • Which school you want your children to attend
  • How many children you want to have and how many you can afford to have
  • What activities your children will be allowed to participate in as they grow up, such as school sports or similar groups
  • Where you want to live and what your goals are in this regard for five or ten years in the future

All of these things, along with many more topics, can have a huge influence on your family life and the lives of your children. You need to get them all sorted out on time so that you and your children can be happy going forward.

What is Open Communication?

One of the first things that you should think about is what it means to have open communication. It does not just mean telling your spouse what you are going to do before you do it. In reality, it goes much deeper than that.

What you need to do is to take the time to present your ideas and viewpoints before deciding what you are going to do. Then you need to stop and listen to what the other person has to say. Many couples make the mistake of jumping right over this second step. They are great at talking, but not at listening. However, half of the process is listening, so you need to do this in order for communication to move in both directions.

Communication with Growing Children

When you set a standard of open communication in your household, it will then spread to your children as they grow up and begin to think for themselves. They will feel like they can come to you for advice and answers. When they begin to make the big decisions in life, such as where to go to college or what to be when they grow up, they will turn to you.

A family lawyer Toronto will tell you that many teens who lead troubled lives often do not feel like they can talk to their parents. They may be intimidated by their parents, or they may just think that their parents will not understand. They can make many poor choices, even some that could lead to legal ramifications, because they do not have the guidance that they need. Make sure that you provide them with this guidance as much as possible.

What Happens When Open Communication Fails?

If your family does not communicate well, it can lead to arguments, disagreements and fights. In the end, it could even push you to divorce since you will not be on the same page. As a family lawyer Toronto can provide will tell you, a divorce often affects children even more than adults. They may even think that the split was their fault, and they can carry this guilt around with them for the rest of their lives. If working to promote communication can keep the family together, it can give children a safe, warm environment in which to grow up.

Miguel McKenzie is a freelance content writer who lives in Toronto, Canada.  Miguel is a parent and a father who practices open communitcation within his family. He has most recently been writing guest posts for Toronto Divorce Law.

Disclosure

Krystle Cook – the creator of Home Jobs by MOM – put her psychology degree on a shelf and dived into a pile of diapers and dishes instead. She is a wife and mother to two rambunctious boys, sweating it out in her Texas hometown. She loves cooking, DIY home projects, and family fun activities.

Comments

  1. I was only telling my daughter this morning that there was times when they were little that I would say to hubby I didn’t create these kids on my own so give me some imput here please………………………..don’t leave all the decisions up to me…………

  2. Jacquelyn Noble says:

    Led by a team of two professionals, Family Bridges offers a safe and secure environment that gives participants, in four consecutive days, what they need to restore a normal relationship. Beyond reconnecting children with their parents, we teach children how to think critically and how to maintain balanced, realistic, and compassionate views of both parents. We also help them develop skills to resist outside pressures that can lead them to act against their judgment-a valuable lesson for teens. We teach parents how to sensitively manage their children’s behavior, and we give the family tools to effectively communicate and manage conflicts.

  3. Geek Girl says:

    Parenting should always be a collaboration where two parents are involved. Conversations may get animated at times when parents have very strong feelings about a particular subject, but that does not mean it is not good. Those who are raising children on their own do not always have the luxury of bouncing their ideas off of someone else.

    • I know raising a family by yourself has to be hard. Hopefully those that do have a support system and even if they don’t they can only do what they think is best.

  4. Your post only addresses this from the perspective that the parents are still together. I’d like to see someone do a follow up of this with a two household situation.

    I was raised by my dad so he made all these decisions alone. When he remarried the “female stuff” decisions went more to her.

    I’m divorced and remarried. My ex has full custody of our son so he decides where our son goes to school and extracurricular activities. Every once in a while he asks for my input on something involving our son but the ultimate decision is in his hands.

    • A follow up to this would be great. I was raised by divorced parents so I know what you mean. My mother made most of the decisions but I’d rather my father had since she was an alcoholic.

  5. Mary Slagel says:

    Open communication is definitely key in any situation, be it between children and their parents or between spouses. I have seen far too many fights start over two spouses disagreeing about their children. Often times it is as simple as not listening to the other or not communicating enough with one another. Decisions definitely should be made together to avoid this and to build that bond you mentioned above. I was raised by divorced parents so I know what it was like to be raised with out open communications and how much different I view relationships because I never saw that solid foundation.

    • I too was raised by divorced parents. My husband and I always come to an agreement before going forward with things.

  6. Edward Reid says:

    Our family is still coping with a troubled young one. She is approaching adulthood soon and that means any damage has already been done. Most of the time my wife and I were not on the same page when it came to solutions. Now our choices are limited and looking back just does no good. Even if we could find where we went wrong, there is no fixing the problem. Your post is good because it advocates communication as the first line of defense with any problem.

    • I’m sorry about your young one. Change is always possible but it is harder as we get older. I agree that Communication is a great foundation to any family.

  7. If it’s possible to share, then these critical decisions should be shared. I’ve always thought I was fortunate to have a partner to bounce decision making off of. Raising children is a constant dance of decision making and I can only imagine the stress levels that single parents face making all of those decisions on their own. Whether you are deciding together or alone, I think it’s important to remember that there is rarely one “right” answer.

    • Very true. Everyone decisions are personal and parents should be able to choose to raise their children however they wish.

  8. Suzanne Fluhr (Just One Boomer) says:

    When our sons were babies, I would hover over anything my husband tried to do with them—i.e. bathing, dressing, feeding — and would voice my opinion as to what he was doing wrong. He finally turned around one day and told me, in no uncertain terms, that he did things his way. I thought about that and backed off, realizing that he loved them as much as I did, he wasn’t an idiot (the man’s a physician-scientist!) and that they could probably benefit from seeing that there was more than one way to do many things. That worked. As a matter of fact, as our sons grew up, they figured out which of us was best at what and would turn to that parent to have particular needs met, i.e. history homework — Mom; math homework — Dad; sophomoric movies — Dad; most likely to be awake late at night — Mom. They would sometimes try to put us against each other, but we were careful not to succumb to that ploy 😉 They’re now 25 and 29. The 29 year old was recently married and is now starting to discuss parenting issues with us. It’s fascinating.
    (Found you on BHB).

    • I think all mothers are like that at first. For some reason we think we know better than the fathers at first. I guess it’s the maternal instinct. There are def more ways than one to do things and learning several is great. Makes you more versatile. Congrats on your son getting married!! That must have been exciting 🙂

  9. Susan Cooper says:

    Parenting is a big responsibility and it is vital to parent as a team. Important decisions need to be discussed and made as a team. Great post. 🙂

  10. Though I don’t have children, it’s safe to say open communication matters in all areas of life. My parents were not open communicators, and I’ve spent so much time unlearning a lot of bad habits they unintentionally reinforced.

    • It can very hard to unlearn the bad habits of our parents. I hate when I do something that I wish I hadn’t around mine.

  11. Richie V. Wilkins says:

    When you set a standard of open communication in your household, it will then spread to your children as they grow up and begin to think for themselves. They will feel like they can come to you for advice and answers. When they begin to make the big decisions in life, such as where to go to college or what to be when they grow up, they will turn to you.

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