Part 1: It’s A Lifelong Process

This is part one of the 5-part series: Relationships Are Complicated! Read part two, three, four, and five.

Relationships Are Complicated (1)I was thinking the other day that being married is pretty much the same as being a parent. You have to take care of another person who may or may not be able to make it through their day without a little help. You have to consider the other person’s needs before you make big decisions. You sometimes have to sacrifice a task on your daily schedule to accommodate their needs. And, you get very frustrated when they can’t just you know, put the toilet seat down (or, clean the room, or just unload the dishwasher…). And, while parenting comes with a lot more responsibility, the main theme is that there is another human that you have to develop a healthy relationship with to make this all work.

It’s that relationship building that actually complicates things. And, for you, it’s the addition of the power differential that can also complicate the relationship. The task that you expect from your kid is not the issue. Making the bed, doing the homework, being nice to their siblings, and so forth are all things that have logical foundations but get more complicated to execute when we have barriers in our relationship. So, how do we develop healthy relationships with another human that we love, that we want to keep safe, and that we want to teach positive behaviors?

Let’s start with being really honest about how tough it can be to develop a relationship with someone we have so much responsibility for and that we love so much. Those two reasons create barriers that are sometimes just beyond our scope of consciousness, and we don’t always realize how big a role they play in how we interact with our kids. When you bring that awareness into the mix of your parenting then you can see why some behaviors are so frustrating and some not so much! Starting with this honesty for yourself also helps to eliminate the guilt we feel when we are disappointed or angry with our kids. We carry so much of the love and responsibility in our relationship with our kids that it sometimes takes over. But, that’s not the main reason this relationship is tough (although it’s definitely a huge part)!

I want to turn your attention to one fact that will really put this into perspective: Relationship building is a lifelong process.

It’s not something that develops quickly and, contrary to belief, it’s not something that dissolves after one misstep. When we become parents we are at the beginning stages of building a relationship with another human for the rest of both your lives. That single fact can sometimes get buried in the daily tasks of making sure that they are fed, safe, and healthy. And, it’s a fact that we all take for granted as we age and as our children demand more independence.

When you realize that this is a lifelong process for both you and your child you begin to see that all the major and minor incidents, both positive and negative, shape who you both are to each other. The main reason we get all tangled in our relationship with our kids is because we think that we’ve got to get it all figured out before they are some arbitrary age. But, the reality of it all is that you’ve got a lifetime to forge strong bonds.

This short introduction into the series is starting a discussion to help you decrease the guilt and reduce the shame around raising a healthy kid in today’s world! As we delve into why our relationships with our children are so complicated we’ll focus on parent shaming, incorporating discipline, understanding the power differentials in our family, and using technology as a part of relationship building!

4 thoughts on “Part 1: It’s A Lifelong Process”

  1. Yes indeed relationship is a life long process which is never ending. Thanks for the reminder.

    1. Yes, it is, Annmarie. Thanks for sgaring your thoughts!

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