Thursday, August 16, 2007

Disagreement on parenting can make a relationship fail

My marriage started to fade soon after my first son was born. He was a beautiful and apparently typical child during his early months of development, so all seemed fine when he first arrived in the world--well, except for my ex's child-rearing capabilities. My ex thought that putting my son in a playpen in front of the TV or putting him in a crib with a bottle was the answer to most of my son's needs. I often disagreed with this viewpoint, and it became a source of contention in our marriage.

My ex's desire to have children quickly faded after my oldest son turned one. He had no desire to do activities that took time like swim lessons. He also would pull out jars of baby food instead of preparing a meal. He preferred to spend time on video games or movies. I became frustrated because my belief was that children needed ongoing interaction and attention. I did not believe in quick fixes like TV for playtime.

I am thankful that my mom was around to stay with my son while I was working full-time because she took my oldest son out for walks or trips to the park. She spent hours constantly watching him, interacting with him, and eventually noticing that something about him was just not right--my oldest son was eventually diagnosed with autism.

My ex wanted kids, but was not into kids. My perspective is that he wanted kids like he wanted all the toys in his life--things there for his amusement. He rarely spent time interacting with the kids, just patting them on the head in passing. I think his desire to fulfill an idea placed him into a predicament of choosing between himself and children. He did not want to make space in his life for kids.

My ex and I still have enormous differences on how to raise children. For example, my ex is a believer in letting kids run free in a highly unstructured environment while I believe in structure. These differences were the nails in the coffin of our marriage.

Had I known my ex's positions on raising children, I would not have had children with my ex. He just does not understand kids, and I can't explain them to him. Liking the idea of kids is a far cry from the daily reality of raising kids. I would recommend to other parents or would-be-parents to explore parental viewpoints before kids come along because it will be easier to make decisions together when the time comes.

No comments: