As parents, it can feel like your world is falling apart when your kids are struggling. The endless worry, sleepless nights, different parenting styles, and immense stress from parenting a struggling child can take a serious toll on your marriage. Sadly, many marriages can’t handle the pressure and don’t survive these types of stressors. And yet, marital discord or divorce is the last thing your troubled teen needs right now. Helping your child is imperative, but nurturing your marriage might be the number one way to do that.
Get On the Same Page
Emotions run high when a child is struggling. However, your teen needs you to think rationally and act strategically. The first step in helping your child and keeping your marriage strong is to get on the same page. This can be difficult to do when both of you passionately feel that your way of parenting is the right way. Interestingly, studies show that any non-abusive parenting style can be effective as long as your child feels unconditional love. Knowing that might take some of the pressure off of you to parent the “right way.” Instead, come up with a parenting plan that you can both agree on.
Form a United Front
Once you are on the same page, it’s vital to form a united front. Otherwise, your teen will sense the breach, use that weakness to their advantage, and pit you against each other. Struggling teens will do everything they can to get their way, even when their way is a fast track to self-destruction. It’s extremely difficult for any adult to fight those daily battles on their own. It’s even harder when parents are battling each other as well. Remember, your teen needs united parents now more than ever, and so does your marriage.
Take Time for Each Other
Your troubled teen needs you desperately right now. Nonetheless, your first priority always has been and always will be your marriage. Your commitment to each other is first and foremost. If it helps, remember that your kids will benefit greatly from your strong marriage as well. Take whatever time you need to truly enrich your marriage, whether that’s daily or weekly. And never allow the conversation to veer toward your struggling child during those times!
Few things are more challenging than raising children. When kids struggle, it can be completely overwhelming. However, always keep in mind that your marriage will last far beyond the child-rearing years. Do what it takes to keep it strong, especially when times are hard.
Do you need help with a struggling child? Click here to learn how New Pathways for Youth can help!