Q: How can I get my husband to help more with the children? He enjoys the “fun” part of raising children – like “wrestling” with our toddler. But when it comes to the practical side of parenting, I don’t think he’s pulling his weight.
A: Communication is usually the key here. Many couples never talk to each other about their parenting expectations, or the fears and struggles they’re facing as parents. In most cases, both of them are doing the best they can, but are feeling insecure. The first step is to air these feelings in an honest, safe and non-threatening way.
Gender roles and distinctions can also be a factor. Mothers tend to have an immediate connection with a new baby, while fathers sometimes feel uncomfortable and “out of their element.” When Dad tries to lend a hand, Mum may be inclined to correct everything he’s doing. This leads to greater irritation on both sides, and the husband may shrink from trying to help.
Again, the solution is to discuss your feelings and expectations. If you’re home full-time with the children while your husband is out in the workplace, talk about what practical aspects of this arrangement should look like. If you both work outside the home, it’s even more important that you clearly understand what the other is thinking.
Whatever your situation, it’s important that you learn how to function as a team. This is another area in which husbands and wives need to be patient with one another and give each other the benefit of the doubt.
If you’re struggling in your roles, you can contact our Family Support Services at 03-7954 7920 or write to firstname.lastname@example.org and our staff would be happy to listen and help.
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