A large proportion of couples get together with the intention of founding a family (although let’s be fair here, not all). We start out taking care first of each other and then going on to have children and care for the needs and development of those children.
Common sense tells us – along with a myriad of scientific research that now backs common sense up – that the influence of a good relationship with parents can have a profound affect on children. It is perhaps for this reason that men seek good mothers for their potential offspring and women seek the best potential fathers.
Throughout history, men have chosen women as partners based on their lineage and their ability to produce “male” heirs. Their “care labels” displayed the symbol for a non-allergenic parent. The care instruction was quite simply Be a good mother and give me a MALE child.
To use a more modern example, how often have you seen young women cooing over a lone man doting on a baby, young child or even a cute looking dog in the park? Believe me, it’s not the baby they’re cooing over! It’s the image the man is projecting. The image that this man could follow one of the care instructions on their “care label”; that of being a good parent.
Humans are basically still animals (albeit, that we can consider ourselves highly developed animals).
As “animals”, one of our instinctive aims in life is to procreate to ensure the survival of the species. Now this instinct may well have been suppressed as a result of our development to a certain degree, but it’s still there.
In some people, this instinct is pretty much hidden, not really an issue at all. Those people feel they could quite happily go through life without having children, or at least having very little to do with them. For these people, you could almost put an allergic sign on their “care label” – and there’s nothing wrong with that!
For others however, having and then nurturing children is an intrinsic part of their make-up. Not having children or a relationship with a partner with little interest in helping with the care and development of those children would be inconceivable to them. These people, most definitely have the non-allergenic parent symbol on their “care label”. They require a partner that’s active in the care and development of the family.
They may meet someone and go on to have children thinking that their partner’s motherly instinct will kick in when they hold the child in their arms. Or when the child is past the baby stage and a little more interesting, Dad will want to play with it more. If this doesn’t happen however, the relationship could well be in trouble. Partner’s will start looking for someone else who could satisfy this care instruction for them.
Often, difficulties arise purely through lack of communication. Couples haven’t talked openly enough about their expectations for the future. Of, if they have, they’ve not been heard and false hope led the one to believe the other would change – this is a dangerous boat to be in.
If you do both believe you’re on the same wavelength, you’re also going to need to consider each others expectations that result from upbringing. Each of you would have been raised differently with more or less input from either a mother or father. Different rules. Different standards. Different ideas. Again, this is where good communication comes in. You need to be sure that you’re in agreement with what’s acceptable, how to discipline, roles and responsibilities, etc.. Develop family rules and then stick with them consistently.
None of this is easy. The good news is that if you’ve been honest with each other and can communicate these things effectively, you’re in with a much better chance of survival.
How have you merged your different backgrounds and expectations to care for and develop your own family? We’d love to know.