There are many books on the shelf available to help expectant parents, and even more designed to guide them throughout their child’s infancy, toddlerhood and preschool stages in life. However, what happens after the child grows up? As all seasoned moms and dads know, parenthood does not get easier once children start school, form friendships and begin to date.
In fact, in many circumstances, parenting experiences only get more challenging, with adulthood bringing both a sense of relief and a new source of stress for parents. This is especially true when a couple disagrees with their child’s choices.
Marriage is one of those life-changing decisions that tends to generate more questions than answers. Once everyone gets past the anxiousness of the first meeting with their child’s desired partner, parents may start to wonder:
• Who is this person my child is planning to share his / her life with? • Will he / she treat my child well? • Are they a good match for each other? • Will the two of them have a good future together?
Dr. Terri Orbuch, widely known as The Love Doctor®, addresses these issues and many more in her new book, “Secrets to Surviving Your Children’s Love Relationships: A Guide for Parents.” It’s a handbook for parents with children of all ages that speaks in depth about how parents can best navigate their children through the exciting and often tumultuous world of love, dating, breakups, heartbreak and marriage.
“Good relationships benefit our sense of well-being and make us happier and healthier. As parents, that’s what we want for our children, ”she said.
Achieving this goal requires a commitment to teaching children, at an age-appropriate level, about the foundational elements of a strong relationship, said Orbuch, a therapist and distinguished professor at Oakland University. A relationship expert and research scientist at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan, she said ideally this will start when children are younger, but anytime is a good time to start. It also means forging strong bonds, so children are comfortable discussing these sometimes sensitive issues with parents.
However, perhaps the most effective method for parents to demonstrate the tenants of healthy relationships is to model them between spouses, parents, siblings and friends themselves, said Orbuch, who has authored numerous articles, papers and books, including “5 Simple Steps to Take Your Marriage from Good to Great ”and“ Finding Love Again: 6 Simple Steps to a New and Happy Relationship. ” Children are always watching and picking up on parental interactions with loved ones.
In addition to providing tips for teaching children the traits of healthy love relationships, “Secrets to Surviving Your Children’s Love Relationships: A Guide for Parents” delves into the trickier intricacies of managing relationships, such as how to be less confrontational when discussing a teen or adult child romantic partner, how to support a child through an unexpected heartbreak and how to approach conversations about these and other delicate topics.
Orbuch also tackles the top sources of conflict in relationships, including trust, money and unrealistic expectations.
In the chapter “Bring the Topic of Money Out into the Open,” she writes about how parental interactions about money can shape their child’s views about saving, spending and budgeting.
“It’s important that parents do not reserve their conversations about money alone to negative situations like debt and taxes,” she said. 1 source of conflict in relationships. Money means different things to different people. ”
For example, having their own bank account can mean independence for some partners while building a sizable savings account equals security for another. Teaching children about the importance of having honest conversations about money can be beneficial to their romantic relationships so both are on the same page and goals are not conflicting with one another.
Another important topic to discuss is relationship expectations, said Orbuch. Make sure their expectations are realistic and share examples of how partners can not read each other’s minds.
“We all want that someone special for our children,” she said. “Parents are vital to their child’s love relationships.”
“Secrets to Surviving Your Children’s Love Relationships: A Guide for Parents” is available now through Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other booksellers. Visit relationshipsecrets.guide for more information.