06
You and Mom
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06.1
What to Know
The most important relationship in the life of your children is the relationship between you and the mother of your children.
How well you get along with her affects your children every day. This is true whether you and mom are married to each other or not, living together or not. Your children look to your relationship with their mom as the blueprint for developing their own relationships. If the relationship is healthy, then your children will have a model for what a healthy relationship looks like. If it isn’t healthy, they will have a harder time developing their own healthy relationships. If you and she are married to each other, keep your relationship strong. If you’re struggling in the marriage, seek out programs and other resources, such as counseling, that offer help. If you and she live together but aren’t married, think seriously about marrying her.
Children tend to be much healthier physically, emotionally, and socially when they grow up with married parents.
Parents who live together are much more likely to break up than are married parents. When parents split up, it’s most often the dad who ends up living apart from the children.* If you and she don’t live together—and there’s no hope of you getting together—do everything you can to support her relationship with your children. You must help her to be the best parent she can be, and she must do the same for you. Do nothing to harm the relationship between her and your children. This might be tough at times because of the history between you two. You might not like her or are angry with her. She might also act as a “gatekeeper,” which means that she makes it hard for you to spend time with your children. No matter how healthy your relationship with her, the Talking with Mom topic provides some powerful advice on how to strengthen it.
*Source: (2016) Father Facts, 7th Edition. Germantown, MD: National Fatherhood Initiative.
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What Else
Your children learn so many vital things from your relationship with their mom.
If your relationship with their mother isn’t healthy, it’s okay to seek help.
The success of your relationship with your children’s mother depends as much on how well you both handle the ups and downs in your relationship as it does on how you feel about each other.
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06.2
06.3
What to Ask
Click to scroll through each of the questions below. Grab a paper and pen to write down your answers if you wish. Take your time.
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How healthy is my relationship with my children’s mother?
What problems do we have in our relationship? How can we overcome our problems for the sake of our children? Do we need help in addressing the problems?
Do I have the skills to create and maintain a healthy relationship with her? Which skills do I need to work on the most?
(If you’re not married to your children’s mother) Should I marry her? Do I want to marry her? Does she want to marry me? Why haven’t we gotten married? Have we discussed getting married?
Get Inspired
Watch this brief video from Jerre Fields.
06.4
Learn More
1. Healthy Children.
2. Healthy Marriages Lead to Strong Relationships with Children.
3. Better Family Finances.
4. A Fuller, Happier Life.
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06.5
Think about these six benefits of marriage.
5. A Long, Healthy Life.
6. More, Better, and Safer Sex.
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You and Mom