Parental love and marriage can impact each other in a couple of different ways. The first is the love that your parent has for you. The second is the love you have for your children. Both of these kinds can have a positive or negative effect on your marriage. If you want to have a healthy marriage, you are going to need to keep parental love in check.
Parents have a special parental love for their children. This parental love can make it difficult to let go as a child grows, matures, and starts a new life, with relationships of their own. If your parents had a healthy marriage, they helped provide you with a good example of what to follow and showed you familial love as well. However, you could still run into problems. Some parents have a hard time letting go of their children. It might be that they don’t like the person you are marrying, and worry their parental love will be impacted by your new relationship. Or, it just might be that their identity is wrapped up in being “mommy” or “daddy” to their child, making it hard to see you put another person above them in the rankings.
Parents that don’t “cut the cord” when their child leaves the house and gets married can make it very difficult for them to have a healthy marriage, or feel healthy parental love. That is why it’s important for you to set boundaries. You have probably heard all the “mother-in-law jokes” that float around society. While it’s easy to laugh at them, it’s also important to remember that the joke is based, loosely, on what many people experience. When you are married, it’s your job to set appropriate expectations regarding your parents’ involvement in this new life of yours, especially if they are not respecting your spouse and marriage.
Many parents want to be able to keep having control over their adult child and how they spend their time. The holidays are always a great example of this. Typically, each set of parents wants to see their child for the holiday. If there are no boundaries set, you and your spouse will spend the entire holiday traveling from house to house to make sure you see everyone. This will quickly tire you out and frustrate you and your spouse, especially if only one set of parents is being demanded.
When you are married, your spouse needs to start coming before your parents. You are an adult, and the relationship that you have with your parents needs to change. While this seems like common sense, many people are not choosing their spouse over their parent(s). It might not seem like a big deal to take the advice of your mom over your husband when choosing furniture, but you need to remember whose house the furniture is going in and whose money is buying it. These types of actions can slowly start to put a wedge between spouses. Your spouse wants you to value their opinion.
If you find that you are struggling with your parents’ love having a negative impact on your marriage or other aspects of your life, it’s time to take action. Here are some things that you can try to put their parental love in check and build a healthy marriage.
Set boundaries for communication
Don’t discuss the details of your finances
Agree with what advice you ask for
Watch what is said
Setting boundaries with children is an area that many parents, especially mothers, struggle with. It is also a topic that many get a little heated and worked up about. That makes it very easy to get offended if you feel someone is telling you that you should be doing something different with your child. But, here’s the truth-if you are putting your children before your spouse you will struggle to have a healthy marriage.
Your marriage started because you put your spouse before all other people. However, whenever the first child comes along, it’s no longer that simple. There is a tiny person that is depending on you both for their survival. It’s a lot of pressure. Many parents also experience an overwhelming flood of love when they meet their child for the first time. If they aren’t careful, it’s easy to move your child into the number one spot in your life, especially because you spend so much of your time doing things for them and with them.
Parental love is strong. It is easy to get caught up in parental love and set your marriage aside thinking you can focus on it again when the kids have left the house. But, if you take this approach, you may not have a marriage to focus on by the time the children are grown.
Your spouse needs to come first, even before your children. This doesn’t mean you don’t love your children or take care of them or provide for them; it just means that your spouse should not be an afterthought while you run around taking care of the children day in and day out.
While you may now be a mom or dad, don’t forget that before that, you were a wife or husband. Make sure that you make time for your spouse. Continue to go out on dates. Many new parents struggle with the idea of leaving the child at home with a sitter. Rest assured that as long as you carefully choose a babysitter, you have nothing to worry about. In fact, there is a piece of advice that many new parents find helpful-leave your baby with a sitter for at least 30 minutes at least one time during the first two weeks after they are born. This will provide you with the reassurance that you need early on- that your child will be just fine with a babysitter.
It’s important that you set a good example for your children. To do this, you need to show them what a healthy marriage looks like. Not only does this show them how to develop healthy relationships as an adult, but when they know that your marriage is good, it helps them to feel secure in their family life.
In the article Putting Your Spouse Before Your Kids, Dr. Gary and Barb Rosberg wrote, ” When the parental team breaks down, children become the biggest losers. They lose their family, which is where they build their sense of security. When children don’t feel secure, their whole world seems to unravel. No amount of baseball, dance, piano lessons or toys can make up for that kind of loss.”
Setting the right boundaries with your child can be difficult, but it’s important to do for a healthy marriage and to set a good example.
Setting boundaries with your children are good for your marriage and good for your children. There may be times when it feels like you shouldn’t because the strong bonds of parental love, but setting boundaries doesn’t mean you don’t love your children. In fact, it means you love them enough to do what is best for them in the future and not just at the moment.
Sometimes You Need Outside Help
If you have struggled with finding the balance of parental love and healthy marriage in the past it can be helpful to talk to a professional, like the therapists at BetterHelp. They can help you work on finding the proper balance between the two and offer you support and professional advice along the way. It can be an overwhelming and stressful process, especially when you first get started.
Below are some commonly asked questions on this topic:
What is a parental love?
Parental love is the love a person has for their children. In most cases, parents love their children unconditionally. A parent’s love can have a big impact on their child’s well being. Parental love that is conditional or is not exhibited at all can lead to low self-esteem, substance abuse, and other mental health issues. Positive parenting practices that promote love and healthy relationships within the family, on the other hand, can help children thrive and develop self-confidence. Authentic parental love means supporting your child while they’re facing life’s difficulties and empathizing with their feelings. Sometimes, parental love means providing some supportive words that will validate your child’s emotions instead of making them feel worse.
Parental love does not, however, mean that parents cannot still set clearly defined boundaries in a child’s life. Setting and enforcing boundaries can create a sense of safety related to family environments and help children develop a sense of structure.
Is parental love important?
Parental love is extremely important in a child’s life—it is an emotional and physical need that serves as the essential glue that connects parents and their child. When a child receives unconditional love early on in life, there are clear benefits. A study from the Harvard University Human Flourishing Program found that a parent’s love, or lack thereof, in the early years of childhood can have a significant effect later in life. The study found that parental warmth and love in the early years tend to lead children to be happier and more well-adjusted and are important factors in early growth. The Harvard University researchers also found that children with a high amount of parental love experienced less depression and decreased substance abuse.
Over time, parental love can help children learn to be more self-confident and give them a sense of self-control. It can also be good for the parents themselves when they provide their child with love, as areas of the brain involved in unconditional love are also associated with the brain’s reward system.
What is the difference between parental love and romantic love?
Parental love is love that a person feels for their child, while romantic love typically refers to the love a person feels for their partner. The love of a child is usually unconditional, but a romantic love may be less of a sure thing in some cases.
What causes parental love?
Parental love is often an innate love that typically occurs immediately upon the birth of the child. There are certain hormones, like oxytocin, that can create feelings of love in a parent. Parents also feel responsible for their child, so their love partly comes from the desire to help their child thrive.
Giving your child love can be very helpful later in their life. A child who does not receive love early in life may struggle to develop confidence and self-esteem.
What happens when a child grows up without love?
A neglected child who grows up without parental love early on can face several problems later in life, including low self-esteem and issues with self-worth. It can be very difficult on a child when they do not feel secure and are unsure what the future holds. When made to face adversity, a child can experience heart conditions, depression, and diabetes. So, early experiences with parental love, or a lack thereof, are very important. They can help children grow the roots needed for good mental health throughout life. Additionally, research from Washington University shows that a mother’s nurturing and love can help develop a child’s hippocampus. According to lead author Dr. Joan Luby, parental love can produce more resilient children. So, if you are a new mother (or a partner to a new mother), it’s important to your child’s mental health that you provide parental love and warmth when they are young.
There are many reasons a child might be neglected early on in their life. Sometimes, after giving birth, a mother or partner will experience postpartum depression. Postpartum depression is a serious condition that can cause a parent to have difficulty forming a connection with their child. If you are experiencing symptoms of depression after giving birth, reach out to a mental health provider for professional advice.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, when parents are hyper-focused on their child, this can also be damaging. Not only can it create a paralyzing stress for both the parent and the child, it can make it hard for the child to learn perseverance and develop self-confidence early in life. Parents can have an often-selfish desire to see their children succeed, but when a child receives support to the extent that they no longer feel able to do things for themselves, it can be damaging to their self-esteem and self-worth.
In other cases, guilt-stricken parents who have neglected their child earlier in life might try to make up for lost time when that child develops into an adult, which presents more problems. Giving your child healthy love early on can prevent messy family relationships later in life.
Being good parents sometimes means letting your children figure things out on their own. You may feel guilt surrounding a more hands-off approach; but it can provide your child with a sense of self-worth and independence that they can carry with them for the rest of their life. When children receive a mix of love and support, along with appropriate freedom and independence, it can lead to more growth in the long run.
So, a child’s life is greatly influenced by the amount of love they receive during their early experiences with their parents, and a lack of love can lead to serious consequences.
How do you deal with lack of parental love?
Parental love can help children develop self-esteem and self-worth, so going without it early in life can be very hard to deal with. Sometimes, parents’ active lifestyles conflict with their duties as a parent. Sometimes, they’re experiencing a mental health concern or were never shown themselves how to display parental love when they were a child. It may also be necessary to seek professional advice. A mental health provider can give you support and help you address concerns related to self-esteem or self-worth. It’s important that you remember that you deserve love, and you can create a new life for yourself that provides you with what you did not receive as a child.