I can remember growing up and thinking that Mom always had eyes in the back of her head. Mom seemed to know everything. But now as a parent, I’m almost equally as convinced that my kids sometimes have eyes and ears in the back of their heads as well.
There’s very little that they’re not observing, listening to, and soaking in from their surroundings, especially at home with mom and dad.
Consequently, nothing has more power or potential to hurt or help kids than what they see, hear, and experience at home.
Kids are like little sponges taking in all the surroundings they are immersed in. They are like little monkeys that see, hear and do what they are exposed to.
For these reasons and more, the way we treat one another in family life matters. And this starts primarily with how parents treat one another.
Here are 3 reasons why the way you treat your spouse matters:
1. Your kids are WATCHING what matters to you.
The way you treat your spouse shows what is in your heart. If our kids see that the way mom and dad treat each other publicly is different than how they interact privately, they are going to notice. If what we say doesn’t match who we are, our kids suffer.
We are never more authentic with anyone more than those we are closest to. That means that our children see the real us. They know our greatest strengths. They also see our biggest weaknesses. And sometimes that’s okay.
Our kids need to see not only our struggle but especially our growth in the way we treat each other as our love increases. There is an amazing amount of security that comes to a kid from knowing that mom and dad love each other forever, and nothing will ever change that.
2. Your kids are LEARNING what you value.
The way you treat your spouse reveals their value to you. We naturally prioritize and praise what we value. Our kids see this.
A dad should regularly praise his wife in front of the family. This could be as simple as complimenting mom on the meal in front of the kids, or making a fun comment about how good looking your kids’ mother is. Kids should also see dad serving mom. (Men, when’s the last time we did those dishes?)