As the Houston relationship counselor, I remind my clients with children that they should work on making their marriage better not only for themselves, but also for their kids.

Most parents seem to know intrinsically that their behavior toward each other can affect their children emotionally. But many don’t take that realization to the next step – that kids, little sponges that they are, soak up the things that they see us doing to and with each other and internalize our interactions as the way relationships work.

Spend all day yelling and kids will think that’s normal. Same for nagging, avoiding each other, and lying to each other. A child who grows up witnessing this will take those lessons into his or her own relationships and likely struggle to connect with people in a meaningful way.

On the flip side, if you and your spouse have a happy, healthy relationship full of love and mutual respect, your kids might think you’re gross – but they’ll also learn that good relationships are possible. My marriage advice: do your children a favor and model this kind of healthy behavior – even if you’re not feeling it yourself.

Model Healthy Relationship Behavior from the Houston Relationship Counselor

Happiness. Love. Mutual respect. Who wouldn’t think that modeling those kinds of behaviors was good marriage advice? They don’t sound too tough when you just lay them out like that, but of course saying and doing are two different beasts. Luckily, the Houston marriage counselor has several techniques that can help get you on the right path.

Talk – a lot. The more you talk, the less likely it is that you will simply let things build up inside of you and cause an explosion. It’s also just good in general for your kids to see you interacting in normal, healthy ways, and if you are communicating a lot – even if it’s just about boring, everyday things – they will recognize this.

Take it outside. If your significant other is really frustrating you and you feel like you’re going to blow, take a step away until you calm down or try to go someplace private with them to have it out. To the extent that you can avoid it, you should never fight in front of your kids.

Work it out. Fighting, however, is not the same thing as arguing. If mom and dad disagree, it’s not necessarily a bad thing for junior to see – provided you can resolve your argument in a calm and respectful way. This way, he’ll come to learn that relationships aren’t meant to be all smiles and sunshine, and that that isn’t a bad thing.  Arguing is not a sign that it’s over. In fact, it’s normal and natural, as is the emotion Anger.  Anger is a normal, natural healthy emotion and quite different from the frequently unseen, unknown, shame-based, and very hurtful (to all involved) Rage.   Adults need to learn how to express their Anger in a healthy way, so that they model it to children instead of teaching them ‘anger is bad, hurtful, dangerous, etc.”  If you don’t know how, or need coaching, Houston marriage counseling can help with either counseling or the weekend educational workshop.

If you are struggling to model a healthy marriage for your children, the Houston relationship counselor is here to help – call anytime!