Romantic relationships are far more complicated than any child can ever truly understand. But the thing is, our kids are a lot smarter than most of us give them credit for. They may not understand the complexities of intimate relationships, but they are able to detect drama, negativity and unhappiness without us saying much.
You see, our kids feed off of our energy. When things are not right in our worlds, it creates instability in theirs. And this doesn’t mean we need to be perfect beings in order to raise happy, healthy kids. But it does mean we all have to do better. We all have to realize the way we live our lives and experience love directly impacts how our kids feel and how they will experience life as adults.
When I am exhausted, my son always asks me if I’m okay. When I am sad about something, my daughter wants to know why I’m not smiling. How I experience life is important to them. They want to know that the person raising them is doing well. It’s pretty remarkable when you think about it. After all, do you want a stressed out, unhappy and dissatisfied person making all the major decisions in your life? I know I don’t.
So how can we do better when it comes to love and marriage? What can we do to have more positive experiences in our romantic lives in an attempt to raise happier kids?
Here are three reasons why our kids really need us to do better in love (and how we can do just that).
- They learn how to love by watching us.
Even if your kids don’t see the problems in your relationship, they can sense it. If you are unhappy in your marriage and doing nothing about it, your kids will pick up on that. If you rarely communicate with your spouse, your kids notice. If you seem uncomfortable and irritated when your spouse is around, your kids will read into those details. Kids notice everything.
That said, we have to address the problems in our relationships instead of brushing them under the rug. Talk, go to counseling, pray together, consider therapy—do whatever it is you need to do to improve your relationship. And if things are damaged beyond repair, seriously consider what living in that space is doing to your kids.
- Instability and drama increases their stress levels.
Children should be focused on their growth, doing well in school, forming friendships and participating in activities that will help them develop into well-rounded citizens. What kids shouldn’t be concerned with is your drama. Listening to fights, trying to determine if they are the cause of your arguments and deciphering your horrible mood is not healthy for your children.
When children are constantly faced with toxic situations, it increases their stress levels. A stressed out child has trouble with their self-esteem, academic performance and with forming friendships. Spare your kids the drama and find a responsible way to deal with your relationship problems in an effort to minimize the stress it causes your kids.
- Our happiness influences how they experience life.
Believe it or not, your kids want you to be happy. Happy parents raise happy kids. Staying in a miserable situation for the sake of your kids typically doesn’t serve them well. Being unhappy day in and day out doesn’t help them live happier lives. Finding joy and happiness isn’t always easy, but settling for a life that is less than what you deserve is not a healthy way to live. It’s not an example you want to set for your kids.
You deserve to be in a relationship with someone that loves, honors and respects you. Don’t teach your kids that settling for less than that is okay. Sure, life is complicated. Sure, creating a long-lasting partnership isn’t always easy. But your kids need to grow up seeing that you never gave up. They need to see that you tried your very best to live a happy life.
BMWK family, what are some ways you think we can do better in love for ourselves and our kids?