Family life

What you need to know about new parenthood

Early parenthood is a critical time in your relationship. Here's how to know to keep your relationship strong.

By John Hoffman
What you need to know about new parenthood

Note: This article is part of a larger feature on supporting your partner, originally published in Today’s Parent Pregnancy. To read more, click on the following links:

Sad but true: Most couples experience a decline in the quality of their relationship after the first child is born. It’s hardly surprising. That helpless baby totally changes the balance in the family. Add in new-parent fatigue and the disruption to your sex life (yes, less or even no sex is normal at this stage of life) and it’s easy to see why new parenthood throws a curve into marriages.

So pay attention to your couplehood. That may be partly about having date nights or other we-time. But your relationship is not this little island that exists outside of the baby. The baby is part of it now. So share the ups and downs of new parenthood, work as a team and listen to each other. The baby doesn’t have to be a wedge between you. He can bring you together.

Here’s the bonus: Ex-pat Canadians Phillip and Carolyn Cowan started out, 30 years ago, to develop a course that would help couples weather new parenthood. What they found was revolutionary: When parents got help with their relationship, they also used more effective parenting techniques. In other words, learning to be good partners will help you become good parents.

Got more relationship questions? Follow along with our relationship expert, Liza Finlay, as she writes about the ins and outs of maintaining a healthy bond with your partner.

This article was originally published on Dec 21, 2011

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