Children need their parents to be emotionally available and present.
There is only one thing worse (I am sure there are 101 worse things) than being in a marriage, living in the same household, and feeling alone. That is being married, living in a two-parent household, and feeling like a single-parent. A marriage that includes children requires both parents to be physically and emotionally available and active in the rearing of the children. When one parent is responsible for making most of the decisions, and is left to raise the children alone, without consistent co-parenting, it can lead to marital dissatisfaction, and, in some cases, divorce.
I think most of us would agree that at the start of any romantic relationship, everything tends to seem fun, exciting, and loving. And when the relationship starts to get serious, we embrace the idea of marriage and children. Unfortunately, most of us will often overlook our partner’s differences, such as communication styles, responses to stressful events and situations, displays of affection, and childhood stories relating to parenting. A major mistake I see in couples, when they are dating, is breezing over the important details pertaining to their partners, which can lead to rude awakenings when they are already knee deep into their relationships, especially when children are involved.
Part of the reason why some couples who are married feel single is the fact that one, or both partners, are emotionally disconnected and unavailable. In addition, a parent who is emotionally unavailable runs the risk of raising children who exhibit unhealthy relationship patterns. In a blog article titled, Having an Emotionally Absent Father Still Affects Me Today, the anonymous author shares her experience growing up in a two-parent household with a father who was emotionally unavailable. Reading her story is painstakingly real as many children, both girls and boys, continue to grapple with the lingering effects of having an emotionally detached parent present in the household. This anonymous author names five reasons she (it is an assumption that the author is a woman) believes not having an emotionally available father has impacted her dating life, and her number one reason is she ends up dating emotionally unavailable men. Unfortunately, she is not by herself. Plenty of women, and men, have attracted a mate that reflects the same negative traits and characteristics of their caregiver.
I empathize with some emotionally detached parents. Children, although a joy and gift to have, can add to the stress or breakdown of a relationship, partly because they require a lot of attention, parental involvement, and continuous unconditional love. When the child’s needs are left to one parent, it can strain the relationship and cause the child to have resentment, anger, frustration, and unhealthy adaptive behaviors, like the aforementioned anonymous author.
My job is to help you better understand how early attachment patterns can influence the quality and satisfaction of later adult romantic relationships and parenting. I believe there is a fundamental truth: a partner’s attachment style could possibly determine the success or failure of his/her relationship and parenting.
There are a number of critics who do not believe the relationship between a parent and child influences later relationships. I truly believe the way in which we experience our parents in our childhood greatly impacts how we show up in our later relationships and in our roles as parents. When it comes to parenting, a caregiver’s attentiveness, emotional availability, and responsiveness helps to shape a child’s future relationship to others-–both intimately and formally (take a moment to discover your attachment style and how it might impact your relationship).
Most of us have learned how to express love and affection by how our parents interacted with us or their intimate partners. When we become adults, we unconsciously repeat many of the same behaviors we observed in our parents, but we quickly learn that love, affection, and security does not always have the same meaning for those whom we build intimate relationships with in our adulthood. This conflict can lead to relationship dissatisfaction and parenting disagreements.
You don’t have to be a clinician or psychologist to understand attachment theory and how it relates to parenting and romantic relationships. Whether you are dating, in a committed relationship, or married, I would like to offer you some tips that will help you to better understand your partner.
Analyzing your partner’s behavior patterns might leave enough clues to determine the future success of your relationship and your partner’s potential as a parent.
Vashonna’s experience as a licensed psychotherapist has become the cornerstone of her professional and leadership development. Her style is unique and refreshing, as she helps people reach their greatest potential. With compassion and a commitment to the long term well-being of the women and men she works with, Vashonna adopts a wholesome clinical approach that is insightful, motivational, and inspirational.