Acclaimed researcher John Gottman found that criticizing your partner (along with contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling) is one key predictor of divorce. The opposite of criticism is noting positives, complimenting, or highlighting great characteristics when you are alone or with others. Pointing out your partner’s good traits or behaviors in front of your kids is one powerful way to be kind, warm, and affectionate —a relationship "master" instead of a "disaster."
Here are 6 ways to support the relationship between your partner and your kids:
1.) Say thank you to your partner in front of your kids and encourage them to do the same.
2.) Point out to your kids the positive traits and behaviors of your partner.
3.) Help your kids make cards and art projects for your partner.
4.) Tell your children detailed, endearing, or humorous stories about your partner’s past.
5.) Make room in your schedule for your partner to take each child out for some special one-on-one time.
6.) Let your kids help you surprise your partner.
Support for your partner’s relationship with your children has far-reaching effects. You build family trust, closeness, and kindness. Drawing your attention to the good in your partner makes you appreciate them even more. Most importantly, your children begin their lives seeing their other parent reflected in the best light—the shining one you cast on them.
Copyright by Erin Leyba, LCSW, PhD.
Erin Leyba, LCSW, PhD, author of Joy Fixes for Weary Parents (2017), is a counselor for individuals and couples in Chicago's western suburbs www.erinleyba.com. Get her blog at www.thejoyfix.com or follow her on Facebook.