Spending time with our kids is good parenting. I mean, spending quality time with our kids, that is the best thing we can do for our families, right? But what if it isn’t? What if the best thing we can do for our family is to leave our kids with a reliable sitter so we can go out and have fun without them?
Dating is actually hard to do for most couples. The kids complain about being left out or being left at home. Dating often costs cold, hard cash. There are so many other things that need to be done. Maybe the most compelling argument is our own guilt: how can I take some of the precious free time we have as parents to spend away from our kids? We need more family togetherness, not less!
There are three important reasons why dating your child’s other parent is the best thing you can do for your child.
Your marriage is the trunk of your family tree. Keeping that trunk healthy is absolutely necessary for kids to be able to branch out healthy and strong. Did you (or anyone you know well) grow up in a family with a shaky trunk? That shakiness effects every day, every relationship those kids enter into. When children feel the strength of the trunk, they feel safe and connected and more able to succeed.
Happiness is a key ingredient to solid parenting, and relying on your children for all your happiness is risky. Our kids did not take a vow to cherish us or think of our wellbeing each day. That is the role of married people to one another. Spending fun, free time with your spouse should recharge your batteries, improve your communication, spice up your sex life. All of these will help you separate from your kids just a little so that you can have more of a sense of humor with them. Want to take your kids’ moods a little less personally? Enjoy your spouse, feel more like a team and you will have less of an urge to be a friend of your child’s.
If neither of these arguments is compelling to you, if you feel that your role as parent is more important than your role as spouse, then here is the best reason of all to date your spouse: Your child will look for a marriage that looks like yours. Since we want our kids to be happy in their marriage someday, we need to teach them by example how to enjoy being married! Show them how much fun it is to flirt, joke around with and appreciate your spouse.
Plan dates and talk to your kids about why you are doing this. Let them know how much you value your spouse. They will feel loved when they see how much you love their other parent!
About the author:
Dr. G is a Board Certified family physician, mother of four, and a professional parenting speaker and writer. Her signature individualized workshop, “How to Get the Behavior You Want, Without Being the Parent You Hate” captivates parents through her humorous straight talk, which lifts the guilt out of parenting. Her mission is to help parents raise children they can respect and admire.
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