What are some relationship tips for teens
Relationship tips: "If the parents are fine, the child is fine"
In addition to changing diapers and comforting babies, the love between woman and man is neglected. With the study “Couples Become Parents”, the psychologist Christelle Benz-Fragnière wants to find out how parents-to-be can strengthen their partnership. In the interview, she gives relationship tips.
Everything is still going well during pregnancy. The child puts the relationship to the test. Photo: pojoslaw, iStock, Thinkstock
"For many couples, parenting is the end of their marriage," says US psychologist and love researcher John Gottmann. Do you agree with him, Ms. Benz-Fragnière?
No. But the transition to parenthood is one of the greatest challenges in life. Couples need time to adjust to it. Because there are few experiences in life that match the intensity of the changes that a baby causes. The first time with the baby is a tough test for couples. It is therefore important to think about it before you become pregnant.
In relationship tips, experts recommend clarifying who is staying at home and who is making a career before the birth.
After the birth, there is usually a traditionalization of gender roles. The woman stays at home, takes care of the house and the baby. Some men feel left out when the mother is breastfeeding. They think they can't help much at home, so they work overtime to support the family financially. But women don't understand that. You don't want to do everything by yourself. This is why it is important for a couple to talk to each other in order to understand each other's needs. Often times, couples expect the other to realize what he or she needs. But because many parents suffer from lack of sleep and first have to find out what the child wants, this does not work.
How is it that even couples with a modern attitude fall into old role models?
Maternity leave could play a role here. Few men get paternity leave. The woman is on maternity leave, is at home with the child all day and the household is automatically part of her area of responsibility. In addition, she may give up an already existing career. The women experience this as very disappointing, they become dissatisfied.
Many parents consciously prepare for the child because it is a desired child. They read guidebooks, set up the nursery and attend antenatal classes. What surprises you anyway when the child is there?
Many tips focus on the birth and the child. But very few think about how much the baby can change the partnership. It is important to convey to parents that the best condition for a good development of the child is a good relationship between the parents. If the parents are fine, the child is fine too! Because then they are more relaxed and can react more sensitively to the child.
The participants in your “Couples Become Parents” study receive relationship tips and training on how to maintain a relationship. Do you really need it?
No, you can ask yourself questions about how being a parent will change your relationship. Many parents-to-be, however, do not have realistic expectations. In our society it is a taboo for new mothers and fathers to say: I'm not doing so well. Because you have had a child and you should now be the happiest person on earth. We want to encourage the parents to be able to say, it's not always so great, I imagined it differently.
It's hard to admit that your own children can be annoying.
Some are already talking about certain topics such as postnatal depression and children who have difficult temperaments. Parents must be aware that there are different children. We just too often feel that we are to blame when things go bad.
How does your workout work?
Among other things, it is about communication in the partnership. The couples learn to open up to each other, to listen and to cope better with stress. We explain what we know from research and the couples are encouraged to talk to each other about personal problems. For example, most couples don't talk about the birth experience.
Everyday life after the birth is crammed with new tasks, so that the couples do not have time to exchange ideas. But the main reason is often that they assume that the partner knows how the other is feeling. Unfortunately, this is often not the case. For example, sexuality changes. Couples should talk about this. If they don't, it will negatively affect the partnership.
Are couples aware that there will be a period without sex in the beginning?
Yes, but many are not aware that the togetherness is generally lost. Time together without a child is short. Therefore, parents should consciously create islands where there are only two of them.
How do you create time?
When the child is asleep, parents can sit together and talk to each other, cell phones and computers are switched off. It is of course ideal if, for example, the grandmother can look at the child. So the parents can walk for an hour. A partnership has to be cultivated. Because happy parents and happy couples take time for the relationship. This is the only way for the couple to experience each other again as man and woman and not just as dad and mommy. Couples should plan their time for two.
Yeah, maybe that's the solution. For some couples, however, this tends to lead to a blockage. There are actually two possibilities for sex after the birth of the child: Either couples plan it or they become more spontaneous than ever and use every opportunity that can arise in everyday life with a child.
Christelle Benz-Fragnière studied psychology in Zurich and did her doctorate in Friborg on maternal sensitivity. The scientist works at the Institute for Social Work and Health at the University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland in Olten and supervises the study “Couples Become Parents”. She is the mother of a two year old daughter. Image: zVg
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