For many couples, having kids mean cementing a relationship; a bond that brings them closer together, a tie that becomes difficult to break. But sometimes the same strong relationship starts feeling the strain when the couples have differences over how to deal with the kids.
Take the case of Meera and Ashok. When they had a son Gaurav, they felt they were in the seventh heaven. Their life revolved around their son. But when Gaurav grew up and entered college, things started getting difficult. Gaurav became his own person and Ashok found it very difficult to let go. Father and son had regular altercations and Meera found herself in the middle of it all the time.
“Ashok resented that he had no control over his son and started taking out all his frustration on me. He would badger me all the time to speak to Gaurav and blame me for his bad behaviour. It all got too much for me and I started hating my husband with an intensity that consumed every other emotion I felt for him,” said Meera.
Experts say that using each other as a punching bag for one’s own frustration is a sure way to drive a wedge between partners. The partners may have no complaints with each other regarding their own relationship, but the fact that they don’t agree with their partner’s approach towards their kids, can impact their relationship badly.
They also say that if such things are not addressed in time, it can lead to cracks that can never be filled. This is what happened with Roma and Vinay. When they had their daughter Lavanya after seven years of marriage, they were ecstatic. But when she entered her teens, things took a U-turn.
Lavanya wanted to sleepover with her friends, go out for parties and even go out for camping but Roma would not hear of it. “I could not understand why Roma felt so edgy about it all. Being a father I was equally concerned about my daughter’s well-being but dealing with Roma’s paranoia and over protective nature was making life difficult for all of us,” said Vinay.
What resulted were the differences that started coming between the couple when the daughter started getting closer to her father and took to avoiding her mother. “I hated that my own husband was conspiring against me with my daughter. He was taking her side only to spite me,” she said.
Counsellors say that relationship between partners is the first casualty when they don’t agree about their children’s upbringing. Both partners start seeing it as a ploy against the other when one parent supports the child against the other parent.
Over a period of time, disagreements over what one partner feels about the other’s parenting style, can cause irreparable damage. Experts feel that it is important for couples to thrash out issues first among themselves regarding their kids than create a situation where the child’s behaviour becomes a bone of contention.
Counsellors also suggest that parents seek professional guidance if they feel the different approach to parenting is stark and may affect not just the child’s future but that of the relationship as well.
Ultimately, the priority is to not put the other partner down when it comes to the child; the priority is to keep the relationship intact by bringing up their own child. Experts say that if couples decide to deal with their child through a mutual consensus, their relationship and their standing as a parent will certainly stay strong.