Remember how you saw the early, warning signs when they were in middle school? Suddenly, your child started shrugging you off a bit. Their attention towards you faded when they were in the middle of something they thought was far more important.
It had begun.
The journey towards being a teenager had started.
When puberty hits, what once were cherubic bundles of joy turn into hormonal, erratic masses of unpredictability. With good intentions in place, you and your spouse direct all your energies towards parenting your children.
Parenthood will continue to be a trying experience. You found that out early on.
But, you don’t have to focus all of your attention on them and leave your spouse lying in the lurch. In fact, doing so actually undercuts what these kids need: two loving, attentive parents who can give them love, affection, and gentle guidance.
Here are 5 tips to strengthen your union with your spouse while you combat the challenges of parenting teenagers.
1. Remember the little things
Do you recall your partner offhandedly mentioning their liking for something small but important to them? Maybe it was a candy or a snack. Be sure to tuck those away for a rainy day. You may be running an errand and see an opportunity to not only give your partner a gift that they will love, but you’ll show that you were listening as well.
2. Compliments never go out of style
It takes all of a few seconds to make someone feel good. After a hard day’s work struggling with your teen’s mood swings, it’s easy to find yourself down in the dumps. It’s a given that your partner is facing the exact same struggles.
A simple moment of gratitude for making life even remotely easier for you can go a long way in cementing your marriage bond.
A compliment is another way to reiterate that you don’t fail to notice your partner’s attempt at a new hairdo or the latest addition to their wardrobe.
3. Take time out for date night
Love evolves and remains fluid. That said, there’s always time for date night no matter how old you are. Your teens can take care of themselves for an evening while you and your partner do something for yourselves. It can be as simple as dinner and a movie, taking that cooking class that you’ve always wanted to together, or getting dressed up and having a night on the town.
4. Don’t let fights break emotional dams
Remembering to be nice can take effort, but not tearing your partner down when the going gets rough is not so difficult to practice. If you find yourself lunging at your partner’s emotional jugular, take the opportunity to step away from the heated back-and-forth for an agreed-upon amount of time.
5. Remember that it’s a balancing act
Keep in mind that any marriage is a true partnership. Because of this, you both are going to only be able to offer a combined 100 percent effort. Some days one of you will be able to go at 70 percent while the other can only manage 30.
On other days, it’ll be an almost ideal 50-50 split. You must remember that communication is vital. Be willing to take things one day at a time.
If you can power through while your partner is drained on occasion, take that opportunity to do so. The favor will be returned down the line.
Just because your teenagers are experiencing feelings and social pressures that they never have before, doesn’t mean your marriage should suffer as a result. Maintaining healthy communication each day and being patient with your partner is the key to a strong partnership with your spouse. Together you will be able to tide over the parenting challenges without succumbing to the pressure.