Our adult relationships can add value and support to our lives as we navigate everyday life challenges. When our kids struggle with addiction, depression, anxiety, or other behavioral issues, we can get overwhelmed as parents. We might start to neglect our parenting partner and never get through the negative energy present in our partnership. We need to remember to nurture and invest in our relationship with our partner. When we fail to invest, we lose the support we may need while dealing with our emotions regarding the troubling situations in which we find our children. When we neglect this relationship, we may not have someone there for us when things are difficult.
When we watch and guide our children through recovery, we have to recognize that this will be tough for our kids and ourselves. As parents, we may believe that we must maintain our composure when our kids are suffering. While we want to be mindful of displaying our emotions to our children when we feel affected by the difficulty of the situation, we cannot deny our feelings. We may feel hurt or betrayed. We may be worried about our child’s future and feeling anxious or depressed. However, when we do not nurture our relationship with our parenting partner, we not only take away a valuable resource for ourselves. We also add to our stress levels if our partnership falls apart due to our neglect.
Self-Care: Helping Yourself First
Self-care is the foundation for building healthy and nurturing relationships with others. When we cannot take care of ourselves, we might lean on our parenting partner to provide for our needs. When we get trapped in this mindset, we start to do things that take away from our partner. We feel that they are responsible for the way we feel. We become dependent upon them for the things we need, and they can feel drained when we are continually taking from them. We want to think about investing in our partnership rather than taking from it. When we are not taking care of our own needs, we cannot invest in others. We can liken this to a bank with an empty vault. A bank with no money cannot loan credit or capital to new businesses or others looking to grow. Like this “bank,” we need to be whole and fulfilled to invest in our partnership.
When Our Partner Is Struggling
When we see our partner struggling to care for themselves, we may not be sure what to do. Again, this comes back to investing in them, which comes back to self-care. We can inspire our partner by setting a good example and modeling how to care for ourselves. They may take the necessary steps to better themselves when we continue to commit to making healthy choices in our life. We can continue to invest in them when they are struggling. We can be sure to show that we care and that we appreciate them. We can compliment them on their strengths or express gratitude for the things that they do.
Presence: Building Connections
Being present can be crucial to maintaining a relationship with our parenting partner. We need to feel connected, and being connected requires us to be present. We cannot connect when we are focused on ourselves or other issues. We cannot connect when we are distracted by other stimuli that take our attention away. We need to be open and honest in our relationship while taking ownership of how we feel. We may only have a few moments each day with our parenting partner. These are the moments that we need to invest in the relationship. What are the things that we are feeling? What do we need to share? Are we making eye contact when speaking to one another? Are we making time to spend time together alone, like going on dates and taking walks together?
We might be caught up in only talking about the problems going on with our kids. We cannot make our kids and their issues the sum focus of our relationships with our co-parents. When we do this, we are not investing in the other person. We have to talk with them and be honest with ourselves about how our kids’ issues are impacting our relationship. Are we making sure to nurture our meaningful adult relationships despite the other issues going on? Remember to care for yourself first, your partner second, and then you can truly focus on helping your children and restoring your family.
When our kids are struggling, we may neglect our relationships with our parenting partnera. The stress of having kids going through challenges can distract us from continuing to nurture our relationships. We may be exhausted or busy and having a difficult time being engaged and “in the moment.” We may need to take whatever precious time we have to restore and revitalize the relationship we have with our partner. We may need to look inward first. Are we caring for ourselves the way we hope that others will? Are we being healthy and positive or setting less than an ideal example for others? If our partner is struggling, are we trying to take responsibility for how they feel or establishing a healthy boundary? We are also not responsible for another person’s feelings and need to remember this when caring for our relationships. We can inspire others to do well and make better choices. Fire Mountain Residential Treatment Center is here for families struggling to heal from the effects of having kids with addiction or other behavioral and mental health issues. Call us today at (303) 443-3343.