Want To Start A Family? What You Need To Know BEFORE Having Kids

Meeting the partner of your dreams and making plans to ride off into the sunset to raise a family together sounds dreamy. Perhaps you are enamored with Attachment Parenting. Then, at some point reality sets in.

Parenting is a completely separate aspect of relationships from romance and marriage. When one or both co-parents are not strong in behavior management and childrearing skills, the results can be disastrous to the relationship. There are a few parenting tips to know before you jump in and start a family.

The secret to well-behaved children and a happy marriage/relationship is to negotiate parenting ahead of time. This way, you know exactly what to do when childrearing problems arise (and they will). Do not risk jumping into the parenting pool too quickly until you are sure you both can swim.

Prior to welcoming children into a relationship, partners must talk about their childhood experiences, attitudes toward children, and ideas about what makes for good childrearing. During this discussion, some important information is likely to surface that is a signal you have some work to do in preparation for becoming effective co-parents.

Partners who hold dramatically different concepts about what makes for good parenting must work together to decide on some common ground. A partner who admits to having a rough or abusive childhood may not have had enough exposure to solid parenting, and may need some parent education and counseling to properly prepare for the baby to come.

Prospective parents who led sheltered lives may also need a wake-up call about what effective parenting is all about. You never know how you or your partner will react toward crying babies or children acting out badly.

Without proper preparation, surprising anger and rage may emerge and take you both by surprise. Learning to expertly handle toddler temper tantrums is great training for parenting difficult teenagers later on. It is never too soon to brush up on your parenting skill and etiquette.

Putting time in NOW to define your "parenting philosophy" and create a "Family Mission Statement" will go a long way to ease the way through childrearing challenges. When parents invest in becoming fit for the task for childrearing ahead of time, then more emotional energy is available for the parent-to-parent relationship. Letting children become out of control because of unclear or mixed parenting skills is one major cause of relationship woes, marital distress, and divorce.

For co-parents who have a strong "parenting philosophy" and a clear "Family Mission Statement," the childrearing process can be exciting ... and even sexy. It is a total turn-on to see your life partner and co-parent skillfully handle a toddler or teenage tantrum.

As the child's behavior improves over time as a result of solid parenting skills, co-parents have more time and energy for their relationship. It is an awesome feeling to know that your co-parent "has your back" when facing a childrearing challenge.

More confidence in your co-parent, more time and energy to attend to your romantic partner, and happier children all lead to a happier household and better romantic relationship. Meanwhile, stronger parent-parent relationships tend to stabilize families and lead to happy and well-adjusted children.

What if you already have children who are starting to have behavior problems? Backtrack and follow the steps right away. You still must have a conversation with your co-parent about your own childhood experiences, perspectives, and attitudes about parenting.

You can take some parenting classes together or arrange for some individual family coaching. It is never too late to establish a shared Parenting Philosophy and define a clear Family Mission Statement. Your relationship is likely to thrive if you do.

Darleen Claire is a parenting expert, parent trainer, and family coach. You can contact her directly at to arrange a consultation to explore how to develop your parenting skills and help your child’s behavior problem. Behavior intervention plans and parenting plans can improve the quality of your family life and your relationship with your co-parent. Everyone benefits from a happy family!