By Sarah Greener
Parenting responsibilities are a broad variety of ways to raise and teach your children. These responsibilities can mean fun events or disciplining your children. In any family with mother and father present most of the after school and weekend time, parents need to share the responsibility. In a good family structure everybody should help raising the children, parents, grandparents, older brothers and sisters and even extended family.
Whether you are parents of a brand-new wonderful newborn or of older children, generally in many households parenting should be a shared activity. But in some households the responsibility rests on the shoulders of one person only, even though it is not a single parent household. For those of you who feel like they are the sole “children raising and parenting authority” in your house, here are some important ways to share parenting responsibilities.
One of the first steps in sharing parenting responsibilities is to communicate to your partner that you need him or her to pitch in. Sharing parenting responsibilities does not just mean things related to the children, it includes anything that is connected to the family. Chores, errands, shopping, changing diapers, helping with the homework of children, disciplining, teaching, having fun outdoor activities or having a family dinner are parenting responsibilities that need to be shared. Raising children essentially means a lot of work and if you are a family you need to share this work. So do not hesitate to tell your partner that you need help.
Make sure that you tell your partner properly what is expected from him. If your partner did not pitch in before, he or she might not know what it means and what has to be done. Set clear expectations and if possible even make a list. Especially for new parents it might be helpful to have a list of shared parenting responsibilities. However you want to divide the work and the fun, dividing means conquering.
It is also important to discuss your opinions about parenting. Parenting styles and opinions differ greatly. Many of us have preformed opinions on how to raise children and they are often far apart, even if we grew up as next-door neighbors and went to the same schools. For new parents this starts as early as deciding on a name, circumcision on a boy or that often discussed pacifier. When children get older your opinions might differ greatly on the topic of discipline. Whenever you have a clash of opinions, keep calm and communicate. Discuss your options and find a compromise if possible. Disagreeing in front of the children especially about discipline has never a good effect on children and might just do the opposite of what you wanted to achieve. When disciplining children, make sure you agree on the solution and also that you stick to it.
Another very important part in sharing parenting responsibilities is to make time for you as a couple. You need some time to share with your spouse. A family can only work if you and your partner have time for each other. Time to love, time to talk and time to reflect on you and your life as a couple and family is necessary to accomplish good parenting.
But there is one thing you should never forget. If one of you is a stay-at-home parent, and the other one makes money for the family, parenting responsibilities cannot be shared evenly. They still need to be shared, but in an appropriate way. This appropriate way generally will have more fun time to spent with the children for the partner that works all day to feed the family, while there will be more disciplining responsibilities throughout the day for the stay-at-home parent. Although it is still important that you agree on your parenting methods or find compromises to agree on.
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See Also Parenting Articles by Dr. Randy Cale at www.TerrificParenting.com