How to Keep Your Marriage Strong When Parenting a Teen

Leaving your teen home alone overnight?
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While most couples expect parenting young children to be stressful on their marriage, many are surprised to discover how parenting a teen can complicate their relationship. While infants and toddlers demand parents’ time and energy, teens’ demands can also create conflict in the marriage.

So while it’s essential to take steps to keep your marriage strong throughout all the years of your marriage, there are some special considerations you should take during the teen years.

 

Conflicting Parenting Styles

Parenting style differences may come to a head during the teen years. Parents you may not agree on issues such as curfew, parties, daytime activities, homework and chores. During this critical time when teens need more independence and freedom, it’s easy for parents to become pitted against one another in attempt to win a child’s affection. Sadly, one parent often gets painted as the hero, and the other gets seen as the bad guy.

Teens know which parent is likely to cave in to their incessant begging for a later curfew, a later bedtime, not doing homework or not doing chores. Not only can teens use this to their advantage in an effort to get their way, but it can also cause a lot of family disputes. Disagreements over discipline strategies and household rules can cause a lot of tension between couples.

General Stress of Raising a Teen

Of course, not all parenting discord during the teen years stems from discipline issues.

Many parents with similar parenting philosophies experience a spike in marital discord when raising a teenager.

That’s partially because raising a teenager is inherently stressful. The stress can easily spill over into a couple’s relationship, if you don’t have healthy ways to deal with your stress.

This is especially if the marriage didn’t already have a firm foundation.

Couples Grow Apart

Another reason the teen years can be stressful for parents is because many couples grow apart over the years. Perhaps you’ve put your relationship on the backburner in order to focus on your parenting duties. Or maybe you’ve devoted a lot of energy to your careers, and you haven’t emphasized your relationship. Either way, you may feel as though you’re no longer as close as you used to be.

Keep Your Marriage Strong

Statistics show about half of all marriages end in divorce in the United States. That’s a pretty grim statistic. But, the good news is, you can take steps to prevent your family from having to deal with the pain of divorce. Here are some tips to keep your marriage strong:

  • Address discipline issues as they arise. Talk to your spouse about any concerns you may have – without your teen present – and work together to ensure you’re able to present a united front to your teen.
  • Schedule regular date nights. That doesn’t mean you necessarily have to go to the movies or out to dinner – eating dinner alone together counts too. Make sure that spending time together is a priority. Aim for once a week if you can.
  • Participate in activities you both enjoy. Sharing enjoyable activities can help keep the spark alive – or even help re-kindle the warm feelings you both had years ago.
  • Try something new together. Take a cooking class, learn how to sail, or schedule a new adventure. Doing new and exciting things can help your relationship also feel new and exciting again.
  • Address issues as they arise. Staying silent about things that bother you will only cause resentment to build.
  • Practice fair fighting. Healthy conflict resolution can go a long way to keeping your marriage strong.
  • Seek professional help when necessary. Marriage counseling isn’t just for marriages in serious trouble – it can also help marriages that are experiencing a few bumps in the road. Don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment to speak with someone – and if your spouse won’t go, you can always go on your own.

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