Children should grow up in a home which teaches morals, values, and demonstrates what healthy love relationships look like. This type of environment ensures that our children will carry those ideals on into their own families. And a healthy cycle of such a solid foundation will begin to travel through to future generations.
I recall back in the day not really discussing love relationships with adults. I am sure most of us have been told as children to stay out of grown folk’s business. But today it seems more and more parents are involving their children in adult conversations and matters of the heart. The question becomes, how much is too much? Should we disclose our financial realities, the difficulties we are having with our mate or any health challenges that will affect us long term? We never want to give our children a false representation of married or family life. Having them think that relationships and life will be perfect and there won’t be any challenging periods is setting them up for failure. They need to know there will be disagreements and couples won’t always see eye to eye. We must inform them that their relationships will be a direct reflection of the amount of effort they put into it. Instructing them on how to have healthy conflict is critical. Some may think marriage and relationship conversations are grown folk’s business, but our children are watching anyway, so we may as well use it as a teaching moment.
Even with all of that being said, there needs to be a positive way to deliver information, especially when we are heated and frustrated. Because they are like sponges, our little ones watch, listen, and repeat most of the behaviors they witness. We have to be careful that we aren’t sharing grown folk business in a way that will impact them negatively. Bad mouthing mommy or daddy is counterproductive. We should not allow our hurt feelings or broken heart to ever cloud our parenting judgement. We must consider our motives when we decide to share certain details with our children. I’m sure you have heard or know of a parent who is quick to criticize the other parent to their children. Statements like “I hope you don’t grow up to be like your daddy” or “Your Mommy does some really stupid things sometimes” are definitely not going to benefit the child.
We are human and occasionally our emotions get the best of us and we react without thinking. We say what’s on our minds because we feel it just had to be said out loud. So whether that’s to another adult or our children, it doesn’t matter. This is harmful. What we fail to realize is how it will affect the relationship and expectations that child has of the other parent. We are also giving our child permission to find a mate with the qualities and negatives we find ourselves complaining about. Before we choose to use our next disagreement with our significant other as an opportunity to school our children, we must consider the end result. Two very important questions must be answered before we proceed: What information do we want this child to know and how will it benefit them later? We want the grown up business we do share to be of the greatest value to our children.
BMWK — Do you share grown folk “relationship” business with your children?