A Dad’s Secret Weapon: Parental Discussion

Do you think of your wife as a teammate? I’m not talking about when she feeds the kids, changes their diapers, dresses them and then gives them to you to play with. That’s hardly teamwork.

The kind of teamwork I’m thinking of isn’t even like a machine-like eleven-man offense marching a football ninety yards to score. It isn’t having a secret weapon come in for a fourth-and-long desperation play.

The kind of teamwork I’m thinking of is more like what happens at half-time in the locker room. Coaches review the stats, talk about what the players are and aren’t doing well, and give encouragement for the second half.

In fathering, we call it parental discussion, and more and more of us are reaping its benefits. It’s where you compare notes with your wife, ask for feedback on how you’re doing, and gather the strength to love your kids through whatever struggles may arise tomorrow. Part strategy, part pep talk.

The benefits are threefold:

First, your wife can provide you with information about your children. She is with them in situations you’re not. When the kids are finally settled quietly in bed, her stories about the events of the day-and how your children reacted-will tell you much about who your kids are.

Second, your teammate wife is giving you a different angle. In a sense, you see only one portion of your child’s life-your perspective. Your wife has a completely different perspective, and it can be quite illuminating when you compare notes. (Her insight will be especially handy when it comes to understanding your growing daughters.)

Third, she’s probably a pretty good model and teacher for you! Mothers are naturally sensitive to the needs of their children, and they often know how to meet those needs. That sensitivity makes them experts on the kids you share. Ask her for advice, and listen. Or sit her down, look her in the eye, and ask, “Honey, how am I doing?”

Our research shows that every dad’s number one fathering resource is his wife. As a wise father, take advantage of the benefits of parental discussion.