I was fortunate to attend Pat Love’s workshop in Austin last weekend. Pat not only trained me in IMAGO therapy, but has written several books on relationships and what makes them work. They include, “Hot Monogamy”, “The Truth About Love”, “How to Improve your Relationship Without Talking About It” and “The Emotional Incest Syndrome” to mention a few. All of which I highly recommend. The workshop was intended to be small (about 15 of us) and it was at her home.
When not writing, Pat spends her time researching the latest facts, cultural trends and recent statistics on relationships, parenting, sexuality and families and addiction. At her workshops she gives her latest findings to therapists to integrate the findings in therapy.
For example, regarding parenting, what do children want most from their parents? I have known the answer to be “quality time”. But today, both parents often work, both have more responsibilities and often more stress than in previous times. It costs about $284,000 to get a child from birth to college. The average college costs about $40,000 a year. Parents feel stressed managing private school, tutoring, coaching, camp, travel, elaborate celebrations, cars, electronics, vacations. Much of the above equals pressure.
Therefore, what children need and want from their parents today, is for their parents to be happy and less stressed. They don’t need to see the stress and pressures. When children see happy parents, they learn to trust them. They come to believe that if their parent is happy, they are doing something right. Also, they will feel that being happy is good and that they too can be happy. It is also statistically proven that children whose parents fight and argue, tend to act out more than children whose parents don’t. Kids acting out behavior is often related to the happiness of a parent or parents. (This is not true for ADHD or special needs children)
25% of families have “stay at home parents” and this is mostly in the upper and lower income households. Partnering is the primary part of parenting. This means that having a good relationship is the foundation of parenting. The best relationships are when your partner is your best friend. It is said that how often you kiss is a greater factor of stability than sex! Trust and good communication are still paramount. Remember, when a partner listens and cares, it means more than when anyone else listens or cares. Unfortunately, the average couple spends 35 minutes a week in intimate time. Not sexual time, but emotionally intimate time. Americans could work on this!
Just some food for thought on parenting and relationships. Parenting and relationships are a work in progress. Both are privileges and can be joyful and rewarding. Keep a work / life balance, love your kids and partners, and take time to smell the roses. We can choose to be a statistic, or not! Life is what you make it …hope you’re enjoying the journey!