How to strengthen your marriage while you parent

September 4, 2012 in dads and daugthers,kids and faith,lessons for moms,soccer

My husband is a natural teacher. Give him a group and a subject and he can impart knowledge and make people laugh at the same time. I think there is a wind up key inside of him and it only gets wound right before a group presentation.

He is a math teacher at a community college. If a biased wife can believe her own heart and the ratings on Rate my Professor, he is an amazing math professor And if they had a Rate my Coach site. I think he would have amazing reviews as a soccer coach. He passes on a love for football (the real name) and a high skill level that is rare in Michigan, north of Detroit. But talent at coaching does not equate to ease in coaching your daughter. Having a dad for a coach is tough if your dad is serious about the sport rather than serious about making the sport all about fun. Sports teach discipline, mental toughness, teamwork, and passion for excellence. Fun is a side benefit, according to my husband. dad coaching daughter's soccer team

My daughter has benefited from my husband’s skills. She is a good player. But sometimes she comes home from practice with a scowl on her face. She is usually mad at her father–the emotions of taking a command to do something differently have clouded her mind and she confuses correction with anger or lack of love.  And in the dark space of her bottom bunk she unloads her frustrations to me before sleep. Except that more recently, a look of pained pause passes over that freckled face. She doesn’t know what to tell me.

Telling me can be equivalent to telling her father. Nothing is safe. And some nights she begs me, “Don’t tell dad.” And some nights, wanting to pull the burdens out her heart, I am tempted to agree.
But I know better than to ease into the friend role, first I am a child of God, then a wife, then a mother. The order cannot be switched in the name of friendship with a child. Because secrets from your husband, even kept for your dear daughter, put cracks in the parenting wall that you and your husband form. And sometimes, my husband needs to know how she is feeling so he can address the issue or misunderstanding.

Wise words, read or heard somewhere, popped in my head. “Bird, dad is my partner in parenting. I can make no such promise. If I think your dad needs to know, I will tell him. If I think you are just venting and he doesn’t need to know, I will be quiet. But I make no promise other than a commitment to pray about it.

Bird turned her back to me, said good night, and asked for her Bible. At least she would be pouring her heart to the One who could help.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

SouthMainMuse September 4, 2012 at 2:33 pm

Wow. That is a tough call but you handled it in a way that was true to your beliefs. Pushing a child to do their best is tough in anything. Like most things in being parent, we do the best we can. It can’t hurt for your husband to know how his coaching is affecting her. Believe me — the older they get, these issues can grow and take a life of their own if one party feels they are not being heard.

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Joanna September 4, 2012 at 8:00 pm

These are wise words to me Laura. Thanks.

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Mothering From Scratch September 5, 2012 at 2:50 pm

{Melinda} Such an incredibly wise answer. I have been put in that position many times with my teenage daughter. I always say, “If I think your dad needs to know, I’m going to tell him. I’m not keeping secrets.” She’s gotten mad at times, but there’s a security I KNOW they find in that, too. Mom and Dad are a united front. And, yes, we ultimately want them to take their burdens to their Heavenly Father, a far better counselor than we are! 🙂

Got your email … will send the guidelines later today!

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Blond Duck September 6, 2012 at 11:33 pm

My husband’s an amazing leader. I can’t wait to see his confidence passed down to our kids! 🙂

And a math professor? Where was he when I was school?

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Paloma September 7, 2012 at 3:41 pm

Very interesting… I think is good that you are upfront with her too… I think it’s bad when moms promise not to say something and then they do… the daughter realizes it and then she won’t believe you again… I think it’s great that you are teaching her this… Hopefully she’ll still tell you 🙂

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Chris Carter January 17, 2013 at 5:10 pm

So glad I dropped by!!! What an awesome post! It is so difficult to set those boundaries with our kids…and yet so critical! What a wise and insightful piece Laura! 🙂

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pruningprincesses January 17, 2013 at 10:05 pm

Hi Chris, Thank you for your kind comment. I am so glad you enjoyed the post.

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