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Matthew Hoffman, Jon Page, Kimberly Hoffman, Estrella Rogers
Kimberly Hoffman 00:09
Welcome everyone to the Kickass Couples Podcast and this week’s segment of a special episode on the Delicate Balance Between Parenting and Your Very Best Relationship. In life, there are so many obstacles and things that are getting in the way of our relationships, our efforts to get ahead at work, having kids at home. When you bring that into the mix, it just adds a whole nother level of I think complications and our best intentions, even our are sometimes slighted. And so with the demands in life, and the things that we need to meet on a daily basis, you know, how do we navigate this? It’s a it’s a great question. The divorce rate between the ages of 55 and 65 has more than doubled since 1999. And why is that? It’s because a lot of our focus has gone to raising our children and being really involved with them and their schools and all the things that they’re doing. And then our marriage is suffering. And we’re not focusing on our marriage. And I think then our kids are grown and are gone. And then what are we left with? Right? We no longer have a united mission and our spouse just feels like golley, does this person even like me? And so, you know, what do we do? How do we approach this issue that seems to be a challenge in our relationships.
Matthew Hoffman 05:13
It’s a tough one and at Kickass Couples Nation, we believe that a couple’s united mission is to invest in and deepen their number one human relationship. And that’s why we’re having this most needed discussion today. And joining us on the call today, we have Miss Estrella Rogers, she is a licensed social worker, she is an author, she is a coach, and she brings a world of experience so Estrella, we are so glad to have you. Thank you for joining us today.
Estrella Rogers 05:39
Thank you for having me. Thank you.
Matthew Hoffman 05:42
Great. And we also have Jon page on the line. And Jon is one of our KCN elite coaches. He is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. And we are glad to have Jon back on the call today. Thanks for joining us, Jon.
Jon Page 05:56
Thank you. It’s great to be here.
Matthew Hoffman 05:58
So I’m gonna jump right in with kind of a first question, I’d love to hear from either of you first, and maybe we’ll let Estrella go first, just so there’s no confusion. So what Estrella do you think is the right, healthy and most life giving focus that we should have, in our number one human relationship, when kids are a part of the picture?
Estrella Rogers 06:20
I think a big piece of it honestly, is you actually have to make your marriage a priority. And a big focus of it should be on one another. I think a lot of times when we have children, they automatically become the focus. And we automatically, especially depending on how you were raised, and you’re you have this, a lot of people have the desire to be better parents than what they had. And so it’s almost like their mission, like I’m going to be a better parent, I’m going to give my all to my children, I want my children to be all of these things. And so then the kids pop up and the kids come. And all of a sudden they move their focus to the children and not their relationship. And they tend to forget, oh, I’m also married, and this person matters. And so for me, I think one of the really important things is to remember, just from the beginning, that your marriage still has to be priority. Because if your marriage is priority, then the kids actually are going to be okay. But if your marriage is not a priority, then what happens is the kids become the priority. And now your marriage is not okay, because you’re not feeding it. And you’re not investing in it, as you said earlier. And so I think if people can really look at it, and couples can look at it and they say, You know what the person that sits in front of me has to be one of my focuses, like they should be the priority, then what happens is, again, if my marriage is okay, my children are okay. And I think sometimes also people think that’s selfish. And it’s like, no, that’s not selfish. That’s how you’re keeping your relationship intact, so you don’t forget about each other. And that way, again, your children are going to be okay, because they’re going to see two parents that love each other, and that want to see each other grow, and all these wonderful things, and then your children are okay.
Matthew Hoffman 08:12
Yeah. Good, good thoughts. Anything that you’d add to that, Jon?
Jon Page 08:18
Yes, Estrella, I love how you said that, that if you if you take care of your marriage, then the kids will be okay. And, and I agree with that, I think that loving your children should be out of the overflow of loving your spouse. So if you get things in the right order, it will work out okay. But you’re correct. And we feel guilty for that we feel like here we have these needy children. And we sure want to make make sure that they grow up in a better way than we did, because most of us are trying to, in some ways do a better job than our own parents or live up to a certain standard. Because of that, though, we can easily lose focus. And you know, I like to say and I don’t mean this in a negative way, it might sound like that, you know, toddlers are by default, they’re their little narcissist, everything is about them. They will steal all of our attention, all of our time, all of our resources. So they make it very easy for us to be distracted from the priorities in our lives. So I think through through several ways, we need to intentionally figure out how to prioritize our marriage. I think that that starts with the commitment, the commitment is my spouse comes first. And then when it comes to communication, how can we communicate what our needs are check in with each other to make sure that you still know that you’re a priority to me and vice versa. And then the third one, and these are the three C’s is conflict resolution, and having kids is constant conflict. Now conflict isn’t always an argument. Conflict is, you know, we need to take our kids to this activity or that activity. The or we need to make sure they get these certain things. But will those things take place of prioritizing your marriage, you need to have this communication with each other and sorted out.
Kimberly Hoffman 10:12
And that really actually leads into another question, which is having conversations around roles, responsibilities and duties when children entered the picture. And so let’s talk a little bit about the importance of that, and what that might look like.
Estrella Rogers 10:33
Yeah, so I mean, I would definitely say it’s probably, obviously very important number one, because if you’re not on the same page, in regards to what the duties are, or what the roles are, then now we have an issue because one of you are expecting the other person to do certain things. And when they don’t do the things that you’re expecting, now we have conflict in our relationship, the other person is not pulling their weight, the other person is not doing this, or they’re not showing up in a way that you want them to show up. Well, you never had the conversation in the beginning as to who was going to do the bottles in the in the night time? Or who was going to do this, or, you know, what’s my role in this. And so, it’s so important that you begin with a conversation and knowing that we are on the same page, and we have the same goals. And then if we don’t have the same goals, now we need to have conversation around that because two people can be married and have two different ideas as to what parenting looks like and what the role of parenting looks like. And so now, we need to have that conversation, you know, and we get out.
Jon Page 11:42
Sure. And all of you have touched on something that that can’t be passed up. And that’s that our expectations for roles come from our families of origin, always, whether we like it or not, we need to have a discussion about what was it like when you grew up? What did? What did mom do? What did dad do? What were the expectations? And from that? What are your beliefs and values, just because we were raised a certain way doesn’t mean that that’s how it has to be now, it doesn’t mean it was all right. It doesn’t mean it was all wrong. But oftentimes, the way we parent is either exactly like how we were parented, or a reaction to the ways, we did not like how we were parented. So we need to talk about these things. Communication is really important.
Matthew Hoffman 12:27
Kimberly Hoffman 12:28
Right, what are the expectations because I might have a totally different expectation than Matthew may have.
Matthew Hoffman 12:33
And I think one of the challenging things I was thinking about this, our parents, my parents, and my wife’s parents, you all I think we’ve got a year or two on you maybe in the game. So the roles were pretty well defined, right? The husband, he’s going to work, the wife, the woman is going to stay at home and take care of the kids, not necessarily exclusively, but majority of Lee. But today, if you went to a couple that got married today and say, here’s the roles, I think they both look at you and go, are you kidding, oh, that’s not how we’re going to have our relationships. So there’s no more assumption like, Oh, I’m the guy, I do this, or I’m the woman and I do that. So I think the added complexity is if you’re not having the conversations, then both people are going to be set up for disappointment.
Estrella Rogers 13:19
Agreed. Agreed. I’ll add to that and say, one of the things that I hear often is that you know, so number one, you know, putting the kids in the bed with you, right? And so I have people come in and I’m like, Well, how was your sex life? You know, how are things going? And they look at each other. And they’re like, it’s not great. It’s not great. And I’m like, Okay, what’s going on? Well, the kid the baby, or the? Well, the baby, normally, the baby still comes in the bed at night. And so it affects that part of their relationship. And I say, okay, okay, so what do we need to do there? And then you also have, you know, couples that I’ll say, well, when’s the last time you’ve been on a date? Oh, we haven’t been on a date in a year. And I’m like, Okay, what is the last time you’ve been out as a family? Oh, we went out. We go out every weekend as a family, but you haven’t been out on a date together, at in a year. And so what happens is, the danger of that is that the couple no longer has a connection, you no longer have an emotional connection, you no longer have a physical connection. You don’t have fun together anymore. You don’t even know what that feels like. And then I think it was stated earlier, that what will happen at some point is that you two have been married for 20 years, the kids are leaving the house and you’re looking at each other, like two strangers, and you have no idea who the person that is sitting next to you is because you have spent your entire marriage growing these children and focusing on your kids. And so, you know, it’s I will say it’s one of the most hurtful things when I hear couples say we haven’t had sex in six months, to a year to even longer You know, because there is a child in our room, you know, there is no intention, there’s no date nights, there’s no intention on the time that they spend together anymore. And so you just become two ships passing in a household. And Jon, just like you said earlier, you know, the sports, you know, sports comes into play, and then they want to, they go in here, they’re going here, and then on top of all that, they’re tired. So the parents are now tired. And so they’ve given everything to their kids, that they don’t even have enough energy left to give to their relationship, because they’ve been running 15 places.
Kimberly Hoffman 15:36
Sure. So I hear you saying that, you know, it’s not okay to do without sex and intimacy, and all of that. And, you know, when couples fall into that rut of just being so tired, or having a baby in the middle of them, and they’re set, and they think, well, it’s okay, you know, maybe we’ll get to that tomorrow, or maybe it will happen next week, or whatever. And so I hear you saying, it’s not okay to do that. And we have to be very intentional, intentional about our connection time.
Matthew Hoffman 16:06
Yeah, and kind of talking about roles for a minute, I think there is a difference between no children and one child, one child, and two, because I call it zone coverage, right? When you got two children, at least it’s zone man to man, I mean, each of you has a child, but then you make the magic jump to three, which happened to us. And it’s all out the window, because you can’t have one parent with one child, you got to share and kind of balance and run back and forth. And so to each of those stages, from none to one, one to two, and two to more than two, the roles and responsibilities change. And it’s kind of like, you know, if you don’t have discussion around that, then you’re assuming, which is, as we know, dangerous, and the responsibilities change, if you don’t have the discussion than we what Jon was mentioning earlier, is that conflict erupts. And so it’s kind of an ongoing conversation, because even when a couple our jobs, each of our careers have changed over the life of our marriage with and without kids. And, you know, we started both of us working. And then when we had children, we decided, well, one parent is going to be home primarily, right? And then we got to the two and then the three. And so it changed us radically. And I think that people feel like, well, we talked about this once. Right, and we have kids now. So what’s changed? And so I you know, it’s having the conversations more than once. And and again, because season can change and circumstance can change. And I think that’s kind of a huge thing to keep in mind. Yeah. For sure. So, you know, it was funny, Kim and I went through our first parenting class together, when we were expecting our first child, it was called Growing Kids God’s Way. And we kind of learned it was a cassette course that had a VHS. Okay, so I’m gonna date us a little bit. Yes, we listened to cassettes, and we watched VHS tapes. And one of the things one of the concepts that they talked about that really resonated with me, is that your children are a welcome addition to the family. But they’re not the center of the family. And we alluded to this a little bit in one of our previous discussions just a few minutes ago. But there’s there we talked a little bit, but I would like you guys to each to help us bring home the point. What are the dangers in a family in a relationship when the children are made the center of the family, as opposed to welcome members of the family? What are the watch outs that I think people out there? Because I think there are people listening right now we’re going oh, of the kitsch. The kids are most important. They’re the center our whole life revolves around them. So how do you guys approach that? And what are the watch outs that someone needs to face, if that’s where they are.
Jon Page 18:48
Sure. Well, I think it’s very easy for us to see these cute little babies enter the world. And you know, we fall in love with them. And all we want to do is provide for them the best life possible. And mom and dad that’s That’s all our lives are about. And it feels so right. And it’s a very good thing, wanting your children to have the best in life is a good thing. But oftentimes, when we do that, and they continue to stay the primary focus of our lives and of our, our family, then they take the place of what is supposed to be first an order, which is, my belief is after God, it’s your spouse, it’s God’s spouse, family, and then everything else falls under that. And when we do that, we in essence, put them on a pedestal almost like an idol above other things. And because it’s such a good thing, caring for our children, wanting the best for them, getting them involved in sports, in after school, tutoring, helping them get into college, all of these stages of life, it is such a good thing. It can be so subtle and deceitful. But life is a lot about that it’s, it’s trading the best for something that’s good. And the best thing is to prioritize your spouse, and have the overflow of that be wanting the best for your children. But you’re setting an example for your kids too. So if you put them first, the other danger is this and this is really big, is your children being the center of family life can very easily develop a sense of entitlement. And I don’t think there’s anybody watching or listening right now, that hasn’t seen the flood of entitled young people. And I think a lot of it is because we’ve made children the priority and the focus of the family.
Matthew Hoffman 21:27
Kimberly Hoffman 21:29
So Estrella, I hear a lot over. I’ve heard this a lot. I even heard it just probably a couple of weeks ago over dinner. The baby’s still in the bed and the baby’s mind, maybe three or four now. And so what would you say to our listeners that are in that place? Right now? I know it’s hard because you’ve developed a habit, right? And it’s hard for Mom and Dad, it’s hard for the baby. But what would you say to them?
Estrella Rogers 21:55
So I would say it’s probably time to get the baby out of the bed to be very honest. But here’s why. If you really think about it, and you take a moment, and you remember what it was like, before you had a child, there was pillow talk that happened. There was spontaneity that happened. There were times where you could have conversation there was cuddling. A lot of times couples can’t even cuddle because the baby is in the middle of them. And so it is so important that they begin to look at the difference in what life was like or what life could be like, as opposed to what it’s like. Now, how close are you to really, because when you think about the time that couples really have together alone, they really don’t get time alone until they put the kids to bed, and then you have to go to work, they’re still going to bed probably about 10. So you really have without children in the bed, you have probably about that window from about nine to 10, where you can relax, you can cuddle, you can talk about the day, whatever you want to do, you can do it in that hour. But if there’s a child in the bed, then that takes the place of that alone time. And so most couples don’t even have the time during the day to have a conversation that is uninterrupted because there’s a child in the bed. So I would tell them to really think about what it felt like to be in the bed with their spouse alone. And really think about is that a feeling that you want to get?
Kimberly Hoffman 23:22
Sure. And Jon, do you have anything to add to that?
Jon Page 23:26
Yeah, Estrella, I like how you brought it back to the time before kids. Because before kids, you know, couples are excited. You know, maybe they’re getting engaged and then married. And you think, oh, yeah, someday we’ll have one or a few kids. And those will be great additions to what we already have right now. But it’s interesting how you start having kids, and it’s transformed. Now all of a sudden, it isn’t the relationship, but it’s the kids that are the centerpiece. And, you know, you started having kids, though, and the expectations change. It’s Oh, we don’t connect, like how we used to. And what I see with a lot of couples, is that, you know, when they don’t experience the type of couple of couple life that they’re used to, when it’s not like how it was when they were engaged or dating, then they kind of give up and they resign themselves to our lives are about the kids, which you know, let’s be honest, you know, our kids are great, they’re a great joy. They’re a lot of work, but their great joy, but then they forsake the relationship with their spouse, and they let it drift off. And 18 years later, the kids are gone and they have nothing. It isn’t a huge risk. So they give up because they think oh, I guess we’re not supposed to connect like how we used to. And the thing is, is it won’t be like how it used to but it can still be amazing. You have to communicate. You have to develop creative ways of connecting i i spoke to one family recently where where they adjusted their lifestyle that when they dropped their son off a football practice, they would leave him they didn’t stay and they would go have dinner together. That’s okay. You have to make some compromises and some trade offs here.
Estrella Rogers 24:55
Absolutely. Absolutely. And just really I’ll say also a lot of times, I’ll hear a couple say, we can’t do this. You know, we can’t find a babysitter. So this can’t happen. We can’t do this. And I said, Okay, well, let’s take out the camp and say, How can we make this happen? There has to be a resource, there has to be someone some way, even if it means that you put the baby in, you know, daycare for two hours during the day, and the husband comes home at the lunch break, or, you know, just like, for my, I will find that couples always find a way to come to therapy, right? And I say, Well, you tell me, you can’t find a babysitter to go out to eat. But somehow the two of you come here for therapy. So where’s the baby? Oh, well, we got such and such, okay, so let this be your date night, you come to therapy, and after therapy, then you go out to eat. So now you’re just extending it. And so now we have a set date night. And so, Jon, you said creativity, and that’s the big thing is that you have to get creative can’t cannot be in your vocabulary? How are we going to make this happen? And that has to be the focus? How do we make this happen?
Matthew Hoffman 26:07
Yeah, I love that. So what I would like to kind of follow up on is we just talked about when the kids are the center, right? But what if one person, one partner gets it, like, Hey, I don’t want my kids to be the center, but my spouse just cannot help themselves. And they’re going there. So how do we how do we address that situation, which is very real when I mean, you can pick the issue we’re not on the same page about, but when one partner, one spouse just can’t help themselves. And it’s the kids, the kids, the kids, I was talking to a dad the other day and doing some coaching. And you know, and he said, My wife is working more than I am and my schedule is more free. I’m going to the practices, I’m going I’m staying for the basketball, he’s choosing to spend all the time with the child he can. And it’s almost created some resentment with the wife whose flexibility is not the same and can’t do that. So how do we handle that when one spouse is on board with that, and the other one is not gotten there yet.
Estrella Rogers 27:13
I think one thing is showing them the importance of the relationship and the importance of the marriage. If they lose sight of the importance of the marriage, then that’s what happens. They’re focused solely on the kids. And so if you take that person, and that person said, and you can scuze me and you speak to them, and you say, hey, let’s talk about what happens if your relationship fails. So the child that you have, that you focus on, you spend all this time with, if your wife or your husband gets to a place where they feel like they’re alone, and they feel like they’re not wanting and they feel like they don’t want to be in this relationship anymore. What’s going to happen to your child, that you’re focusing all of your attention on the child that you love the child that you want to be, you know, be to every event, you want to be everything, you know, for this child, what happens? What kind of life will this child has, if your marriage falls apart? And I think sometimes if the child is there, so folk focus, they also have to be able to see, well, how can I be a parent? How can I still be this great parent, and still give my attention to my spouse. And I don’t think that everybody really knows how to do that. So I think they have to be taught how to actually be able to give intentional time to your spouse, and still understand that you can show up and be the best parent that you know how to be. And so again, I think finding, you know, finding the the core of that really finding out, you know, is there any guilt for this parent that they are focused on their kids so much is, you know, what is their their cause or their reason for solely focusing on their kid and not being worried about their spouse anymore? So I think there’s a couple of things that you kind of have to figure out there. But, um, you know, I would I would really to that person, I would really ask them. If their child was in a single parent home, is that really what they would want to be very honest.
Jon Page 29:09
Estrella, I think you were you were touching on this. And that oftentimes if there’s one person in a relationship, who isn’t invested or committed to finding ways to connect when there is significant disconnection, there are probably underlying issues that need to be addressed. And that’s the psychodynamic therapeutic perspective on that situation. So if one person is all about, hey, we need to prioritize us and kind of put the kids on the backburner, and the other person says, you know, we need to create this life for our kids. We need to keep them happy and fulfilled. And if keeping your children happy as your main priority over having a healthy marriage, then there are probably underlying issues. There are underlying issues that are keeping people from wanting to connect, and those need to be uncovered. You need to call them out
Kimberly Hoffman 30:00
And when we’re not connecting, and we’ve seen that, you know, over time, as as your relationship progresses, kids leave the house, and you kind of look at each other and, and you’re wondering who, who each other really are at that point. But what are some of the other dangers, what else can happen when we’re not making the time to connect?
Estrella Rogers 30:22
Well, I will say, unfortunately, when we don’t make the time to connect, you know, they will connect with something else, or that’s a strong possibility. And to be honest, it could be an affair, it could be employment, it could be the gym, video games. So a lot of times, what you’ll see is they’ll find purpose in something else, because obviously, I’m not needed here. And I don’t think people do that purposely. But when you have a relationship, and there’s no connection, and you tend to drift off to somewhere where you feel, I have purpose here, the people here, they love me, when I go to work, they’re looking at me, and they’re, you know, they’re giving me promotions, and they’re saying how amazing I am. So now, you know, oh, there’s a volunteer opportunity at work, I’m signing up, you know, there’s this going on at work, I’m signing up, you know, when I go to the gym, you know, everybody’s saying how, you know, in shape I am and I’m this and I’m that. And so now, you know, hey, my husband’s at the gym five hours a day, like what’s happening, you know, and then like I said, and then an affair, that that is a true danger in a relationship when someone feels alone. And I don’t think like I said, a lot of people, they don’t have a Verizon purpose, they don’t purposely go out and seek someone, a lot of times, it’s someone that is showing them the attention and showing them, you know, having conversation with them, talking to them, and showing them that they matter. And then unfortunately, it turns into an affair. So there definitely are other dangers and other things that can happen when there is no connection.
Kimberly Hoffman 31:58
Matthew Hoffman 31:58
Kimberly Hoffman 31:58
and I think people need to understand that we are wired and built for connection. You’re made for that purpose. And appreciation too, for that matter. If we’re not getting it, we are going to seek it from somewhere else.
Matthew Hoffman 32:12
Yeah. And I think that too, I mean, on the affair thing. If a partner or a spouse is feeling pain, they don’t love me like they used to, I’m not important in their world. They don’t have time for me, they’re not giving me what I need. Pain pursues pleasure. And so where do they get pleasure? It could be the affair. It could be the gym, like you mentioned, Estrella, it could be gambling, it could be alcohol, drugs. I mean, there’s all video games, you know, any any addiction or overt pursuing of something instead of your relationship? Right? That lifetime commitment that you made, is not healthy. And some people say, well, it’s not as bad as well, okay? You know, if it takes you away from your partner and spouse and is not building the relationship up, it’s toxic. And you know, the label is kind of irrelevant. And hope, you know, the affair is certainly the most sensationalized in our society. And we don’t want that, but your partner needs to be getting the satisfaction and being heard and understood, touched, loved. I mean, we can go through all the languages right of love. And really, it’s our commitment to each other that’s going to affair proof, or addiction, prove the relationship. So I think you’re, you’re right on that front.
Jon Page 33:28
Yeah, and anybody who’s been there knows that it is more lonely to be in a relationship, or in a marriage where you’re disconnected than to live alone. It is very isolating, it is very painful. It leads to all sorts of addictions, the ones that were mentioned, maybe workaholism, maybe your addiction is my life is all about my kids. And we need to protect ourselves against that. But people who have not invested in their marriage in the right ways, they don’t have hope, or they don’t believe that it can work or that it’s worth it. But maybe they haven’t really fully experienced it. They haven’t fully experienced the benefits of connecting, you know.
Kimberly Hoffman 34:08
Let’s talk a little bit about discipline in disciplining your children. I know that that discipline can cause a lot of friction within a relationship. And so how do you really negotiate and apply? Maybe I have a different practice of disciplining and was raised with that practice. And then Matthew, and so how do we move forward in in applying those practices to discipline so that we agree on them?
Estrella Rogers 35:12
So I think one of the big things is education. And honestly, when I have parents that have to this to different types of discipline, you know, one, we work on communication. So we communicate, why is one comfortable with something else we communicate in regards to what is their expectations in regards to discipline? Is the discipline age appropriate? Right? And so that is important, is it age appropriate, but then I will have them do some sort of either it’s a parenting class together, where they both may learn certain things together, maybe listen to a podcast, maybe read a book. But we begin to talk about what are appropriate discipline measures? What are different ways that you can discipline your children. So we even look at different ways of discipline. So you grew up this way, you grew up that way. But what else is out there? What else is out there? What are other ways that we can discipline? And then we bring all that back to the table? And then have a conversation about what is there something that we can take from here? Is there something we can take from there? What does it look like? And what are you all comfortable with? In regards to compromise? Because then, you know, there comes compromise in your communication and things of that nature. And so for me, when working with couples, or my advice to couples would be to really go out and look and see what’s out there in regards to different types of discipline measures, really educate yourself. Obviously, there’s Triple P, I think there’s parenting logic, 123 Magic, like all of these different types of parenting classes and go to the classes, educate yourselves on what’s age appropriate, and then really look at what you’re doing, and really decide, do we need to make a change? And so that’s where I would be it?
Kimberly Hoffman 37:34
Yeah, so I hear you saying, educate, communicate, and then having a united front? When you’re disciplining. Jon, would you add anything to that?
Jon Page 37:44
I would, I would start with the united front part is a marriage and family therapist, I meet with children and families for discipline issues for, for working with with children’s behaviors, and all of these things. But I can say, as a married man with two children myself, that I have to throw all of my experience out the window when it comes to parenting with my wife. And the reason why is well, I’ll be honest, at times in the past, I’ve tried to, I’ve tried to assert my expertise with my wife, and that only backfires because it pushes her away. And also, with that, I have um, even though I might know some things about parenting and discipline, I have, I can’t really put that into my marriage, because I’ve never parented with her before until now. So it’s a different dynamic, if that makes sense. Parenting with her is different than things I might know for somebody else. So I need to make sure, first and foremost, we are a united front. And if I take a stance that me as a therapist who works with kids, that I’m the expert, I’m already putting up a wall or a barrier. So the most important thing is unified. I like the education part, even for a therapist or a social worker, I would say, you know, if we’re if we’re gonna raise children with somebody that’s pick a book or a podcast together, this is about us first. And that goes back to where we started. It’s about the marriage first. That’s priority over Hey, I know, because I’m a therapist, and that will backfire.
Kimberly Hoffman 39:17
No, kids, no, we’re not the united front. And they play off of that. They’re very smart when it comes to that. So
Matthew Hoffman 39:25
One of the things that we’ve been speaking about at KCN is the necessity of boundaries with your partner and your spouse. But I think it bleeds over into this conversation directly about boundaries with your children. So I’d love to hear from each of you, and Estrella, maybe you could start. What are some healthy boundaries that people can put in place in regards to their children that are a win for the relationship? And I think because a lot of people might feel like, oh, I don’t think I could do that. Or I don’t think I should do that. Or that’s, you know, it’s selfish of me if we do so, when you think of healthy balance What would you give me a couple of examples of healthy boundaries with children that are a win for the relationship?
Estrella Rogers 40:07
So I think one is, you know, number one is really teaching them that there is adult time, and that’s okay. It’s okay for mommy and daddy, to go out on dates, it’s okay for mommy and daddy to do things together that do not include the child. I believe that is a healthy boundary, because you’re also teaching them as they grow up, that it’s okay when they have a marriage. And when they have their own spouse, it’s okay to make their spouse a priority. And so I think that is one of the things I do agree with. Not necessarily having conversations, of course, in front of your children, children should not hear the back and forth, that should definitely be a boundary where when we come together, we come together as a united front. And so they should not be a part of the the conflict part of that or the back and forth in the conversation. There is a a portion of communication that you have with your children, of course, in regards to teaching them compromise and teaching them conflict resolution skills and things like that. But if there’s a conflict between the parent, the child should not feel that they should be able to come and be a part of that conversation at that time. And so I think as parents, you have to put up boundaries that basically say, this is parent conversation. And this is child conversation so we can come together. And we can definitely talk to you about why a decision was made, we can answer the whys, we can do all of that. But when it’s a mother and father conversation or an adult conversation, I do believe that there should be a boundary that is set in that. And so and again, or the parents can decide how they want to talk to the child about that. So if we’re talking about grounding a child, you know, you all may decide, okay, well, let’s have a conversation with them and find out why they did this and why they did that. But you’re still doing this as a united front, the child was not a part of the conversation of how are we going to talk to the child? And how are we you know, they’re not a part of that. And so I think that’s a way of, you know, really setting boundaries. One of the things you talked about earlier, like triangle isation. And so one of the things that I will tell you that we do in my house is we have a group chat, right, and so my son knows my oldest, he’s 17. And so what they used to do is when they wanted to go somewhere, they knew that mom would always be like, sure, you know, go have fun. But now I’m like, No, you know, what, don’t even I’m not even gonna say, ask your dad, just ask us both at the same time, we’ll talk about it, and then we’ll let you know. And so that’s just something that we kind of created together. But my son, he now knows, know, your parents are on the same page, we talk about it first. And then we give you a decision, or we give you an answer. And so I think that just making sure that the kids are aware that the parents are going to have conversation and the parents are going to come as a united front is a very good way of setting up a boundary in regards to the different roles.
Jon Page 43:15
Sure, and I would add to that, that I think it’s important to communicate to your children, that there are certain spaces in your home, and certain times in your life that are just for the parents, and intentionally communicate that so have some areas, ideally, your bedroom that are for the most part off limits, that doesn’t mean your children can never come in there. But that means that this is Mom and Dad’s space, and you can ask to come in. But if we don’t say yes, you can’t just wander into our physical space, it’s okay for them to learn that they need to learn boundaries. And they need to understand that there are times set aside, if you can find a way to schedule a date night outside of the home, that is going to be about mom and dad. That is an important lesson for them to learn. It’s not just something that’s good for Mom and Dad, it’s, it’s something that they can learn from that it’s okay. But it’s important to and okay to prioritize your marriage.
Kimberly Hoffman 44:11
Yes. What if one person in the relationship continues to sacrifice their own space, their own time, their personal needs for their children? And you can really the other spouse notices it’s really taking a toll on them? How can we effectively have that conversation with our spouse? How do we bring that up in a loving, caring way? And that really, I think, speaks to self care, right?
Estrella Rogers 44:43
Or, I think as a spouse bringing up in a way that says, I see you right and so really being able to let the other person know, I really see your struggle. I see that you’re tired. I see that you’ve been worn out you know, and I really I want to help you. And so let’s have a conversation about how you can begin caring for yourself how you, you’re not going to be so worn out. You know, this happens a lot, especially with the stay at home parent, right, the stay at home parent, a lot of times, it’s also with breastfeeding. I mean, I will say that to breastfeeding moms I have found are very, very worn out, they give a lot of their time to the kid, they can’t be separated most times from the child. And so they also then become territorial in a sense, where they don’t feel like anybody else can do it the way that they do it. And so that causes them to be very tired, because they’re trying to do it all. And so as the spouse coming in just really saying, I see your effort, you know, I see you trying, I see you’re really trying to be the best parent that you can be. But I also want to make sure that you’re being the best you that you can be. And so how can I help you? And being the best you that you can be? How can I help support you and make sure that you’re also taking care of yourself? Why don’t you go and you know, do go to the spa, or go do this, and let’s find a way that we can find time for you to be intentional for yourself, and I’ll help do this, or will find resources, you know, you can have a babysitter come in the house, while the stay at home parent is there and allow them to go and have some time on their own while the other person is in the house. But, you know, just just letting them know that they see them. They see their efforts, and they want to help.
Jon Page 46:30
And I would add to that that every couple and family dynamic is a little bit different. So on a personal note how this works with my wife and our kids, is that I actually have to go ahead and make plans coming up this week, I’m taking the kids for a few hours. And I told her I said I’m taking the kids out, you can do whatever you want with your time. She can plan whatever she wants. And then she has freedom. Because for the stay at home parent and the stay at home mom, if there’s one thing they don’t have, it’s freedom, they’re always needed. They’re always wanted. So to have the freedom My wife has told me in the past, when she’s had a few hours without the kids that she doesn’t know what to do with yourself. And I think that’s a common experience for parents that take care of kids 24/7. So sometimes it’s just a matter of just doing it because they’re so used to the parent who’s at home, taking care of the kids all the time was so used to sacrificing, that they wouldn’t know where to begin. So that’s what I was trying to do.
Matthew Hoffman 47:24
Great, great ideas. You all have been
Kimberly Hoffman 47:26
Yeah, this has been awesome.
Matthew Hoffman 47:27
been great. And we you know, there’s always more right, we could keep going and dig in and dig in. But we really just wanted we was on our hearts. We had some questions and some of our viewers and our listeners, I think this is something that most couples deal with, with who have kids, because it’s it’s a balance, and it’s a lesson and it’s a lesson sometimes we have to learn and relearn, as as life changes. So thank you so much for your transparency, for your good thoughts astray. If people want to learn more about you or connect with you, where should they go to do that?
Estrella Rogers 48:01
They can go to www. starlevelcoaching.com. Or they can go to my LinkedIn page, which is just my name Estrella Rogers. And they can also find me on Instagram and Facebook under my name Estrella Rogers.
Matthew Hoffman 48:19
And how about you, Jon? If people want to connect with you, where should they look?
Jon Page 48:24
on my website is deltacenterfortransformation.com. Or they can find me on Instagram or Facebook.
Matthew Hoffman 48:32
Great, thank you. Well, we appreciate you joining us. And we know Kickass Couples Podcasts as part of the Kickass Couples Nation, where we are on a mission to make sure that couples are learning how to invest in, deepen and strengthen their number one human relationship. And we want to let all of our listeners know if you’re hearing some of these things and they strike a little too close to home. And you would like help. We would love to talk to you. We are here to help you to provide coaching. We have live webinars, we have all kinds of resources and tools you can check out at Matthew hoffman.com, in addition to learning to this great podcast, where we have terrific people like Estrella and Jon, join us and really get down to the nitty gritty. So thank you for joining us today. And we hope that everybody remembers this one last thought.
Kimberly Hoffman 49:16
Happily ever after doesn’t just happen. It’s on purpose.
Matthew Hoffman 49:20
Thank you for joining us.
Kimberly Hoffman 49:21
Thank you both.
Estrella Rogers 49:24
Jon Page 49:39