Being a parent can be great fun, with lots of opportunities for love and excitement. It also brings challenges and hard work. Parenting teamwork helps you face these challenges in a positive way that minimises conflict and strengthens relationships.
About parenting teamwork
Teamwork is working together and being in general agreement about your approach to parenting. For example, this means agreeing on general rules about bedtimes, eating and so on.
It’s also about backing each other up, so that your child doesn’t play one of you off against the other. For example, a child might say to his dad, ‘Mum said I couldn’t go swimming today’. Dad might think that the decision is unfair, but he’d back up his partner in front of their child and discuss the issue with his partner later.
The way that you interact with each other has a big influence on your children. For example:
- Children feel safe and good about themselves when their parents get along with each other.
- Children’s happiness and development also depends on the quality of their relationships with their parents.
- Severe conflict – for example, frequent clashes and fighting between parents – is linked with behaviour and development problems in children.
Managing conflict: part of parenting teamwork
You have a big role to play in creating a positive environment for your children. This means supporting each other. Discussing and solving problems together. Using teamwork.
Conflict will always happen, even in the strongest of relationships. All parents start out with different ideas about family life. Your beliefs can differ on basic parenting issues such as what is ‘normal’ or ‘right’, and how to raise your children.
Children learn from how they see you and your partner interact. This means showing your children that disagreements are a normal part of life, and teaching them healthy strategies for coping with and solving problems.
Children can cope with and even learn about how to handle conflict if they see you disagree from time to time. But they are badly affected by frequent, angry and ongoing arguments.
Focusing on you
Your health, sense of wellbeing, stress levels and support system can all have an impact on how much you enjoy the time you spend with your family. And how well you cope with the stresses and challenges that arise.
Looking after your health and being aware of how your relationship with your partner is going can give you increased energy and responsiveness for each other and your children, and help you get the most out of being a parent.
Focusing on your relationship
Caring for children on a day-to-day basis does place demands on a relationship. It can be hard to juggle work, family and time for yourself and friends.
Parenting teamwork skills can help keep your relationship with your partner healthy. When you feel closer to your partner and more supported as a parent, together you can create a better environment for your children.
Parenting better with help
Parenting teamwork skills can be helpful for most relationships, and in all types of family environments – including those with single parents or same-sex parents, and relationships after separation or divorce.
Teamwork can also help you get extra support when you need it.
There might be times when you and your partner need more support than teamwork skills – for example, if you or your partner feel very concerned about your relationship. Seek professional help if you’re having trouble solving relationship problems, have considered separation, or feel unsafe because of physical or verbal abuse.
Video Working together as parents
‘You really do have to work together’, says one of the dads in this short video.
This video highlights the ups and downs in parents’ relationships that come with raising children. Australian mums and dads talk about common problems and tensions. They also share ways to strengthen and build a relationship after children. In particular, they say that patience and open communication can help you reduce conflict and support each other.