- GOP hopes taking shutdown off the table with budget deal will pay dividends
- Chinese Death Star: The moon cited as the perfect launch pad for ballistic missiles
- Help wanted: Homeland Security plagued by vacancies at the top
- We are not amused: Queen’s protection officers warned to keep ‘sticky fingers’ off the royal cashews
- Unleash the crossbows: Gov. Scott Walker creates new hunting season
- Bubonic plague kills 20 in Madagascar
- G-20 diplomats fell for hacker attack promising nude photos of former French first lady Carla Bruni
- Minnesota guardsman charged with stealing private soldier data for fake IDs
- Florida appeals court rules universities can’t regulate guns
- Vladimir Putin defends Russian conservative values
HICKS: Parents must find time away from children
From: Dad is Desperate for a Date
My husband says we should have “date nights” without our three kids, but free evenings are almost impossible to find. Our children’s schedules are full of school, sports and social activities that keep us coming and going, and when we finally choose date night, I’m either too tired to go out or I feel guilty for taking the time away from home. I think our time would be better spent having a family dinner, which we don’t do enough. Our kids are 8, 10 and 14. How bad would it be if we just give up on date nights until the youngest is older and finding time as a couple is easier?
To: Desperate Daters
Consider this: Whatever is in the best interests of your marriage is also in the best interest of your children.
We all know that having children is both indescribably satisfying but also extremely stressful. Little children are physically exhausting, big children are emotionally draining, and children of all ages are demanding and expensive.
More than that, in our culture we’ve been convinced that children come first even before our marriages. You see this attitude exhibited in couples running themselves ragged to accommodate their children’s sports and extracurricular schedules, not to mention their busy adolescent social lives, yet take virtually no time to nurture their relationship as husbands and wives.
The pressure to be “perfect parents” sometimes causes us to go way out on a limb for our children, leaving us no time, energy or funds to attend to our marriages. If this is true for one parent but not the other, resentment can build within the marriage resentment some say the children can sense.
“Child-centered” families in which parents sublimate themselves and their marriage to satisfy every want and whim of their children are petri dishes for problems. When it’s “all about the kids,” the adults can grow isolated and unappreciated, or worse.
On the other hand, “parent-centered” or “marriage-centered” families are built around the premise that a healthy marriage makes for the happiest home, and that children will most benefit when Mom and Dad are first and foremost husband and wife. In these families, the children understand that the love between Mom and Dad is shared among the children. Nothing feels more secure and safe to a child than living in a home when he’s sure his parents love each other with all their hearts.
It’s easy to slip into habits of child-centeredness. After all, children need supervision, transportation, food and water. Typically, when they are finally all tucked into bed and the tasks of parenthood are done, all we can do is stay awake for an hour of TV. The idea of a sparkling conversation with our spouse is almost overwhelming.
If you’re living in a child-centric home, remember that a healthy marriage is the foundation for everyone’s happiness. How to regroup?
Check in once a day with your spouse without talking about the children. Ask how your the day is going and try to keep the focus on each other without careening the conversation into Kidville.
Drop your standards for what constitutes a date. It can be as simple as taking a walk after dinner or as deluxe as dinner and movie. Don’t be afraid to excuse the children from the room and explain that Mom and Dad want to be alone. They may roll their eyes at you, but secretly they’ll think it’s cool.
Plan a weekend getaway. This doesn’t have to cost a dime. Farming the children out for a night or two to a friend can be just as restful and rejuvenating to your relationship as spending the weekend in a hotel. In a few weeks, return the favor and support another married couple as they take a much-needed kid break.
• Have a question about parenting in today’s culture? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
By Mangosuthu Buthelezi
Memories of a long brotherhood tempered in common struggle
- Obama's Afghanistan experts stumped on U.S. death toll, war costs during hearing
- NAPOLITANO: A conspiracy so vast
- Inside China: Ukraine gets nuke umbrella
- House votes for bargain to end budget drama
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
- Comma on!: Twitter erupts over Obama-Castro 'marriage'
- 80 people publicly executed across North Korea for films, Bibles
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- Somber duty: U.S. presidents in hot demand at Mandela's memorial
- MALCOLM/REIMER: Over-criminalization undermines respect for legal system
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Consummate traveler Todd DeFeo explores the unique stories that make destinations worth going to.
Covering the world of soccer, including the World Cup, Major League Soccer, D.C. United and the English Premier League and other interesting sporting events.
Born in 1930 in rural Missouri, Charles Vandegriffe, Sr., brings his time and place to the Communities.
Columns from Voices around the World talking about the events, people, politics and social issues that concern us wherever, and whoever, we are.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow