#129 - Make better relationship decisions for your children's sake!
Everyone with children knows how frustrating it can be to teach children to clean their room, eat their vegetables, do their homework, instill good values and morals, etc. It isn’t until they are fully grown adults that we start to see the fruits of our efforts. What most of us don’t realize is that children learn by observation as much as anything else. What are they observing us do in our dating lives? Are they watching us make great relationship decisions?
I was having a conversation with a dear friend recently about our own personal relationships. We were comparing notes and discussing the similar issues we have experienced. We share similar family values in that we never bring new relationships into the family until there is relative certainty that these are relationships that have potential to last. This is done for several reasons. First, we need to protect children from potential sexual predators and verbal, emotional and physical abuse. Next, children (especially younger children) can develop attachments quite quickly. If you are introducing them into your new relationship too soon, they are subject to going through many of the same emotions you have when the relationship ends.
More importantly though, what are they learning through observation what a healthy relationship looks like? They learn how they should be treated and how they should treat other people by watching us! Are they observing healthy boundaries in your relationship? Or, are they seeing inappropriate, unhealthy and unsatisfying relationships? Through our conversation, my friend made the profound observation that if a relationship is not extraordinary, we are teaching our children that it’s okay to settle for less than everything we want in a relationship. This is never okay!
As adults, we need to learn to walk away from mediocre, unhealthy and toxic relationships. This will do several things in our lives. First, it allows us to be free to search for healthy relationships. Second, it protects our children from potentially emotionally, physically and sexually abusive relationships. Finally, it teaches our children to value themselves as people and not settle for less than they deserve in a relationship. If you display a healthy self-esteem, it will be easier for your children to do the same when it comes time for them to date.
If you have made poor decisions in the past, now is a great time to change. Make the great decisions for yourself today that you would like to see your children make in their own lives.