Last week, we shared Part 1 of a two-part series about some of the discussions you and your spouse should be having as you plan to grow your family. We’ll continue the series this week. If you haven’t read Part 1 yet, you can find it here.
Here are some of the conversation points we covered last week:
- You and your spouse should be sharing and negotiating expectations before you have children, if at all possible
- Likewise, discussions on how to divide responsibilities also need to happen early
- Discuss how to prioritize one-on-one time with one another, even as your life is shifting
- Share about your own childhood experiences growing up, including any unhealthy dynamics in your home life
With these tips in mind, let’s continue the conversation.
Consider Important Family Boundaries
If you and your spouse haven’t already set boundaries with family, you should talk about that sooner rather than later. How will you define those boundaries and support one another in upholding them? Once you’ve begun having children, you may find it more difficult to set and manage expectations and boundaries with extended family members and in-laws.
Knowing what you know about your extended family dynamics right now, anticipate some of the issues you may need to address once you’ve begun having kids. Do you have controlling family members, or people close to you who disregard current boundaries? Is it possible that you might run into conflict around holidays or grandparents providing childcare? Talk it out and make a tentative plan for how to tackle any issues that may arise.
Discuss Possible Approaches to Discipline
Have you and your spouse discussed some of the stickier points of parenting, like discipline? Start before you think you need to. Work toward deciding on an approach that feels agreeable to both of you. Keep in mind that your philosophy might change once you’ve had kids, and that the two of you will need to have this discussion more than once over the course of parenting. Still, it’s never too early to start talking about it.
Plan One-on-One Time With Older Siblings
If you already have children and are planning to have another, go ahead and talk about ideas for getting that much-needed one-on-one time with them. You’ll be busy and exhausted when the new baby arrives, but your other kids will still need Mom and Dad. Talk to your spouse now about how the two of you can set aside that important time with your older kids. You can also consider age-appropriate ways to involve older kids with the new baby, so they feel included.
One fantastic way to make this time is by planning family meal times together. We elaborate on the importance of family dinners in our book, The Hour That Matters Most. You can get your copy here.
Keep an Open Mind and an Open Heart
When it comes to growing your family, there’s no real way to plan for every future scenario. The best we can do is to try to anticipate possibilities and do our best to prepare for them mentally. In reality, though, life throws curveballs. You and your spouse might find that your best-laid plans need to be rethought or scrapped altogether.
That’s why it’s important to keep an open mind and an open heart. Life may turn out looking completely different from what you envisioned. Leave room to change your mind and revisit early decisions you’ve made about parenting together. As you learn, grow, and experience, you might find yourselves deviating from your original plans–and that’s okay.
If you’re planning to grow your family, have you started having these conversations with your spouse yet? Do you plan to talk things out ahead of time or take life as it comes? Leave a comment and let us know what you think.