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Before Becoming Parents

Posted Oct 10 2008 2:11pm

Back in the 60's (when I got married) couples hardly ever talked about raising kids before they got married.  We just got married and then a few years later we became parents.  Today I believe couples are at least discussing some of the issues of being a parent and some couples have chosen not to have children and that is alright as well.  It is an awesome responsibility this thing called parenthood.

Our guest today is June Safty Odegard, L.C.P.C., Whitetail, Montana (406) 779-3339 ( ) and her blog ( ).  June will answer the question:  "before a couple gets married, what issues should they agree upon regarding parenthood" and "in all of your years as a marriage counselor, how often does the issue of parenting come up as one of the issues they cannot agree upon?" 

June says that parenting actually comes up quite often in marriage counseling, especially if it is a blended family situation which is so very common or almost typical in today's world.  They say it takes about seven years to completely blend "step families".  Therefore, it is absolutely critical that before a couple gets married or even discusses marriage that they talk about parenting and resolve not only anticipated concerns but typical issues that arise in all families such as custody arrangements, how ex-partners will be involved and how discipline with be handled.

If there are no children involved, it is necessary to first decide if they want children and if so when and how many children. It is often falsely assumed that both partners want children.

Next it is important to discuss such things as what faith they want to raise children in and will they raise their children as they were raised or completely different.  Will both partners work after a child is born and will they adopt if they can't have children.

Another conversation worth having is what type of discipline they will implement, what are each partner's strengths and weaknesses in parenting as well as how they hope to compliment each other.  In addition, how will they keep their relationship strong and passionate while raising a family and what changes will be the hardest to navigate?  It is also critical to discuss how having children will affect finances (will they need a bigger home, what about school and college plans, daycare, and even health insurance) and how they plan to accommodate those financial challenges.

Thank you June - your information is very valuable.  If you, as the reader, know someone anticipating marriage, refer them to June's sites and/or send them this blog.

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