Skip to main content

Radical non-Parenting

One of the hardest challenges of staying in relationship with married children is to cease parenting and to simply be a parent.  When children marry we do not simply welcome a new member into the family.  The marriage of a child radically changes family dynamics and relationships.  Tying the knot in marriage is as profound as cutting the cord at birth.

MFIn marriage we choose each other and leave father and mother to form a new family.   As newlyweds we managed to thrive in a small community with many members of Tom's extended family.  We learned to set boundaries and turn exclusively  to each other for advice. This worked for us.  Some of the decisions we made did not sit well with extended family especially those around traditional family gatherings.

As parents of married kids we likewise need to step back and let our children rely on their spouse to make their own decisions.  To this day, the hardest task for me as a parent is to not  offer advice unless asked -- even with something as simple as purchasing a crib, vacation plans, or buying groceries.  I may think my advice is generous or helpful, but unsolicited, it can come across as criticismUnsolicited advice is parenting and not simply being there as a parent.

TOM Setting expectations is parenting 101 -- eat your vegetables, don't feed the dog at the table, leave your muddy shoes at the door and be home on time.  I am a people person and staying in touch with the kids is key for me.  Letting go of expectations around communication with married kids is a struggle.  We constantly have to remind ourselves:  

  • Everything you say to your child will impact their spouse
  • To truly welcome your child's spouse is to love them unconditionally
These principles have allowed us to 'ease into' letting our married kids set the frequency and type of communication, including visits and special
celebrations with us.  They know our door is always open.  We have to remind ourselves that marriage doesn't come with a foolproof playbook and our kids are learning to 'leave and cleave' just as we did.  There will be mistakes, hurt and rejection.  We have found that letting go of our expectations has given our married kids the freedom to develop a wholesome relationship with their spouse.  It has also given them the confidence to enter into an even more intimate relationship with us.

Being a parent  to married children is challenging.  It is choosing relationship with your child and their spouse over the job of parenting.  It is loving them when they need distance and being there when they need support.  It is choosing to affirm them when you judge it appropriate, and refraining from giving unsolicited advice when you disagree.  As parents of married kids, we encourage you to retire from the job of parenting.  It is radical and requires a mega-dose of trust in each other and your kids. Being a retired parent can be the best job in the world.  Enjoy it together!


Other Popular Posts

Great Sex!

Photo by  ijeab  /  Freepik     Sex between a married couple is not only good, it’s very good. If you read the research and surveys, you will find that married couples experience better and more frequent sex than non-married couples. Married couples are healthier, happier, and live longer. When we went on a WorldWide Marriage Encounter weekend, we were more than a little surprised when a priest told us that our love-making is good, is important for us, and is important to the world. He encouraged us to “make mad passionate love!”     So, why has married sex become something else? Society and media portray sex for married couples as dull and lifeless, a tool used to manipulate, something to joke about, and something that - beyond the newlywed phase- gradually drifts away. We’ve been sold this bill of goods, and we often buy into it! What we really crave in our sex life is to give and receive something powerful- to experience the depths of our passion and love for each other, t

8 Misunderstandings That Are Hurting Your Sex Life

Why are we writing about sex again?  Sex in marriage is more important than most people think.  It's mysterious. There are a lot of "layers" and complexities to this whole topic.... read on... 

10 Stay at Home Date Night Ideas

Date Night has become a household term in recent years and many couples strive to make this quality time together a priority in our increasingly fast paced lives. Throw some kids into the mix (or in our case a granddaughter), and it’s even harder to carve out quality couple time. Not to worry because finance guru Dave Ramsey has come to our rescue with not only a whole host of date night ideas, but most of them are budget friendly. We’d like to highlight 10 of Dave’s Stay at Home Date Night ideas! 

Marriage Manners Matter

Photo Credit: Thought Catalog "Fine!" and "Whatever!"   These 2 powerful words have the incredible potential to bring nearly any discussion to a screeching halt.  They send the insensitive message of "I don't care. Discussion over.  Period. Full stop!"   As married couples, we have probably used these or similar words.  And, if we have raised children we have probably employed time out, taken the car keys or other forms of discipline. Those 2 little words are not   the focus of this blog.

Annual Marriage Tune-Up

A number of years ago, some friends of ours told us about a little trick they use to keep their marriage healthy, strong, and vibrant. Every year, they pledge to attend some kind of marriage enrichment event together. According to our friends, this does not mean weekend getaways to the beach, skiing, or going to a bed and breakfast together.

How to FIX Your Spouse

Photo by Alex Jumper Does your spouse do anything that absolutely drives you nuts? Would you like to know how to “fix” them once and for all? Read on.

Stale Crackers

Photo by Pixabay via Pexels It first struck us when we had to throw away all the crackers in the pantry because they were past their expiration date – it’s been a very, very long time since we’ve entertained a group of friends at home.

I Married YOU, Not Your Family

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels Growing up and getting married means that we leave our family of origin and start a new family.  We’re not asked to forget about mom and dad, but we do need to remember that our spousal relationship is important to take care of because it becomes the solid ground where we plant our new roots.

8 Ideas to Help Settle Disagreements in Marriage

"I disagree!"  "What?!?!"  "You don't understand." When husbands and wives disagree, things can get tense.  We dig in our heels, raise the volume, and let our emotions get the best of us.  Arguments can turn into a competition to win (as if anyone every truly "wins" in an argument). Whenever we hear ourselves say, "You always....," or "You never...," we know we're marching down the wrong road.  So how can we settle disagreements? 

Come On, Baby, Light My Fire

Photo by Katie Salerno from Pexels One reason married couples end up together is because there is a physical attraction between them. Some call it chemistry. There are times when we can’t keep our hands off each other.  We make any excuse to be close, to be intimate.