Parenthood is a challenging journey that brings with it a continuum of emotions and experiences. Be it the day to day childcare arrangements or the triumphs and stresses experienced by the parents, it is helpful to have support. For homemakers, there are also days when you need some babysitting support so that you can run other errands.
⇒ Related Read: 5 Secrets To Starting Parenthood Together
Joining other families for play dates or parenting groups are some ways of tapping into the support of the peer community. These informal partnerships can help to alleviate the isolation and frustration in parenting. They can also be a resource platform to gain insights for important parenting decisions.
Learning to work effectively with caregivers and having parenting support benefit the well-being of both parents and children.
⇒ Related Read: Managing Disagreements With Your Other Caregiver
Steps that keep the partnership going
– Express appreciation
If your child’s teacher has done something that you value or the other parents in your peer group have given helpful advice or a listening ear in a difficult time, express appreciation for that support. Building on the positive encourages relationship growth.
– Check-in regularly
Make it a practice to have daily chats with the caregiver – it could be your child’s grandparents, the childcare centre or a babysitter. Routine communication gives both parties a helpful glimpse into how the partnership is going and how some aspects may need adjustment.
This can be in the form of a note, text, call or through a communication book.
A relationship grows and changes over time. Regular check-ins not only promote understanding but also help to relieve the frustration that may come from care-giving and make for a better partnership. This communication allows both parties to learn more about the child than either party could on their own.
Managing Challenges in Partnership
No parent is an island. With the varying beliefs amongst individuals in parenting, areas of friction do arise. The caregiver may not share the same standards as you have or may have deviated from something that was previously agreed on with you.
It is important to clarify anything that you are uncomfortable with. Tension may arise in playdates if there are differing opinions such as the way other parents manage disputes among the children or their way of disciplining children.
Treading the tightrope between trust and vigilance can be tricky, here are some points that may be helpful in such situations.
– Adopt a problem-solving approach
Steer away from criticism and focus on the concerns that you have. Hear from the other party and offer your inputs. Developing a solution together helps the parties involved to work as partners and reduces misunderstanding.
– Consider the perspective of your child
With any decision made, consider how it will impact your child. Will your child feel isolated or be confused with the outcome? The solution may be good for the adults, but is it achievable and realistic for your child?
– Avoid undermining the other party
Consider the ramifications of putting down others in front of your child. If you have something to address with the other party, refrain from confronting the parent in the presence of others. For example, if a parent keeps calling your child “shorty” just for laughs, set aside time to discuss this matter with the parent elsewhere.
Your child may be too young to remember the “teasing” incidents but be sure to reiterate to your child about his or her value and build up his or her confidence.
Effective partnerships promote the general well-being in the journey of parenthood and alleviate the stresses in parenting. Parents must not feel pressured to go with the flow or to bend their principles.
Consider what is negotiable and what is not. If there is something that is truly non-negotiable (i.e. health or safety considerations) where the other party is not willing to accommodate, then it may be time to reconsider the partnership and join others who share the same values and a similar outlook as you.
By Som Yew Ya.
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