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The key to building your child's emotional intelligence? Connected co-parents

What does that mean and how do you feel more connected? Find out.

The key to building your child's emotional intelligence? Connected co-parents

Individuals or couples, married, divorced or separated, many parents might have this in common: They want to feel more connected to the other parent. They understand that connected parents are not only more satisfied in their relationship, they also have a greater positive impact on their children.

So what does it mean to be connected parents?

Let's get one thing out of the way—connected parents do argue, they don't always see things the same way and they struggle. This makes them just like everyone else. What makes them different is how they get through these times of stress and conflict.

Connected parents have learned how to resolve conflict without inflicting more pain. They are playful. They present a united front, even if they are not 100% in agreement.

There was a time when my husband and I did not score too well on any of those criteria. While love is key to a relationship, it's not enough. We each brought our own family history, life experience and emotional needs into our marriage. Combine that with raising children (and their crises, large and small), paying the bills, and managing life… well, things got messy, and feeling connected was lost in the shuffle.

Looking back at those years, I can only imagine how difficult it must have been on our kids. When parents are floundering, where does that leave the children?

Why children are emotionally healthier with connected parents

Children thrive with consistency (the united front). They need to know where they stand and what is expected of them. When they play one parent against the other, that unity is critical. When they manipulate their way into getting their way, everyone loses. Parents who can argue without being mean, and make up fairly quickly, are modeling important relationship skills (conflict resolution). Children learn that it's okay to disagree, and they will still be loved. They feel more confident that their parents will be loving and supportive of each other and of them (even if their parents are no longer together).

Parents who can be lighthearted and have a sense of humor take some of the intensity out of life (playfulness). Being playful is a wonderful way to ease out of tense moments and release pent-up negative energy. It also teaches children about emotional balance.

Connection nourishes loving attachment and security. Children who see connected parents and feel connected to them feel safer. They trust that no matter what happens, their parents will always be there to listen, guide and support them. Where do you and your child's other parent stand on the connection scale? If things aren't going as well as you'd like, you can begin with the perspective that you're doing this for your children. It's a little bit of 'fake it 'til you make it' with your kids as your motivation. You might need some help; a parent coach (you know how to reach me) or therapist is a good resource. Connected parents are a key to your child's emotional health and growth. Be the key.

How to feel more connected

There are definitely things you can do to feel more connected to your parenting partner. The answers may be simple, but they aren't always easy. Some will take more preparation than others, and the payoff is priceless. See which one of these feels doable for you.

You've all heard about 'date night.' Once you get the logistics out of the way, this is a great way to take yourself out of your everyday responsibilities and remember why you came together in the first place! And do your best not to talk about the kids!
Whoever comes home first at night, make sure to give your partner the first hug and kiss. As a child, it was beautiful to see my father go straight to my mom when he came in the door.

This next tip comes from, researcher, author and speaker, Brené Brown. When you have a negative reaction to something your partner has said or done, go for an open mind and clarity. Assume that he or she had good intentions. You can open the door to a calm discussion with this statement: "The story I'm telling myself about what just happened is that.. " This is a loving and respectful way to admit that you've been triggered but may not have all the information. Everyone's defenses go down, and you can repair and connect again.

Originally posted on Fern Weis.

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These are only the vitamins I give my children and here's why

It's hard to say who loves these more—my kids or me.

When I became a mama five years ago, I didn't put too much thought into whether my son was getting the right vitamins and minerals. From breastfeeding to steaming and pureeing his first bites of solid food, I was confident I was giving him everything to support his growth and development.

But then the toddler years—and the suddenly picky palate that accompanied them—came along. Between that challenge and two additional children in the mix… well, I knew my oldest son's eating plan was falling short in some vitamin and mineral categories.

I also knew how quickly he was growing, so I wanted to make sure he was getting the nutrients he needed (even on those days when he said "no, thank you" to any veggie I offered).

So when I discovered the new line of children's supplements from Nature's Way®, it felt like a serious weight off my chest. Thanks to supplements that support my children's musculoskeletal growth, their brain function, their immune systems, their eyes and more, I'm taken back to that simpler time when I was so confident my kids' vitamin needs were met.*

It wasn't just the variety of supplements offered by Nature's Way that won me over: As a vegetarian mama, I'm the picky one in the family when it comes to scanning labels and making sure they meet our standards. The trick is that most gummy vitamins are made with gelatin, which is not vegetarian friendly.

But just like the other offerings from Nature's Way that I've already come to know and love, the children's supplement line is held to a high standard. That means there's no high-fructose corn syrup, gelatin or common allergens to be found in the supplements. The best part? My two oldest kids ensure we never miss their daily vitamins—they are so in love with the gummy flavors, which include tropical fruit punch, lemonade and wild berry.


Nature's Way Kids Mulitvitamin


Meanwhile, my pharmacist husband has different criteria when evaluating supplements, especially when it comes to those for our kids. He appreciates the variety of options from Nature's Way, which gives us the ability to rotate the vitamins based on our kids' daily needs. By keeping various children's supplements from Nature's Way on hand, I can customize a regimen to suit my kids' individual requirements.

Of course, high-quality products often come at a higher price point. But (to my immense gratitude!) that isn't the case with Nature's Way, which retails for a competitive value when compared to the other items on the shelf.

Like all mamas, my chief concern is supporting my children's health in any way I can. While I see evidence of their growth every time I pack away clothes they've outgrown, I know there is much more growth that doesn't meet the eye. That's why, for my oldest son, I like stacking the Brain Builder gummy with the Growing Bones & Muscles gummy and the Happy & Healthy Multi. My 3-year-old also enjoys getting her own mix to include the Healthy Eyes gummy. And both of my older kids are quick to request the Tummy Soothe tablet when something isn't sitting right in their stomachs.* And I'll admit it: I've tried it myself and the berry blast flavor really is tasty!

Although my current phase of motherhood may not be as "simple" as it once was, there is so much to appreciate about it—like watching my kids play and sing and create with their incredible imaginations. Along the way, I've eased up on some of my need for control, but it does help to have this range of supplements in my motherhood tool kit. So while I may not be able to convince my son to try kale, having the Nature's Way supplements on hand means I do know he's right on track.*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.


This article was sponsored by Nature's Way. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Our Partners

I never wanted to be a mom. It wasn't something I ever thought would happen until I fell madly in love with my husband—who knew very well he wanted children. While he was a natural at entertaining our nephews or our friends' kids, I would awkwardly try to interact with them, not really knowing what to say or do.

Our first pregnancy was a surprise, a much-wanted one but also a unicorn, "first try" kind of pregnancy. As my belly grew bigger, so did my insecurities. How do you even mom when you never saw motherhood in your future? I focused all my uncertainties on coming up with a plan for the delivery of my baby—which proved to be a terrible idea when my dreamed-of unmedicated vaginal birth turned into an emergency C-section. I couldn't even start motherhood the way I wanted, I thought. And that feeling happened again when I couldn't breastfeed and instead had to pump and bottle-feed. And once more, when all the stress from things not going my way turned into debilitating postpartum anxiety that left me not really enjoying my brand new baby.

As my baby grew, slowly so did my confidence that I could do this. When he would tumble to the ground while learning how to walk and only my hugs could calm him, I felt invincible. But on the nights he wouldn't sleep—whether because he was going through a regression, a leap, a teeth eruption or just a full moon—I would break down in tears to my husband telling him that he was a better parent than me.

Then I found out I was pregnant again, and that this time it was twins. I panicked. I really cannot do two babies at the same time. I kept repeating that to myself (and to my poor husband) at every single appointment we had because I was just terrified. He, of course, thought I could absolutely do it, and he got me through a very hard pregnancy.

When the twins were born at full term and just as big as singleton babies, I still felt inadequate, despite the monumental effort I had made to grow these healthy babies and go through a repeat C-section to make sure they were both okay. I still felt my skin crawl when they cried and thought, What if I can't calm them down? I still turned to my husband for diaper changes because I wasn't a good enough mom for twins.

My husband reminded me (and still does) that I am exactly what my babies need. That I am enough. A phrase that has now become my mantra, both in motherhood and beyond, because as my husband likes to say, I'm the queen of selling myself short on everything.

So when my babies start crying, I tell myself that I am enough to calm them down.

When my toddler has a tantrum, I remind myself that I am enough to get through to him.

When I go out with the three kids by myself and start sweating about everything that could go wrong (poop explosions times three), I remind myself that I am enough to handle it all, even with a little humor.


And then one day I found this bracelet. Initially, I thought how cheesy it'd be to wear a reminder like this on my wrist, but I bought it anyway because something about it was calling my name. I'm so glad I did because since day one I haven't stopped wearing it.

Every time I look down, there it is, shining back at me. I am enough.

I Am Enough bracelet 

SONTAKEY  I Am Enough Bracelet

May this Oath Bracelet be your reminder that you are perfect just the way you are. That you are enough for your children, you are enough for your friends & family, you are enough for everything that you do. You are enough, mama <3

$35

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International Network for Aid, Relief and Assistance (INARA)

It's 2020. The world is changing. It's hard to believe but the old decade is over, the new one is here and it is bringing a lot of new life with it. The babies born this year are members of Generation Alpha and the world is waiting for them.

We're only a few months into the new year and there are already some new celebrity arrivals making headlines while making their new parents proud.

If your little one arrived (or is due to arrive) in 2020, they've got plenty of high profile company.

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