If you are familiar with this blog, you know that parenting is one of our key topics. We believe it is also important to discuss parenting when you get to know your partner. This is the final installment of Know Your Partner, a series of posts to help you get to know your partner, and today’s post is about parenting.
You may find that you need to ask many questions that are not cover here. Also, keep in mind that people’s opinions about parenthood are often not fully formed yet. If you have never been a parent, you don’t know what you don’t know.
In this case, parenting is like a discovery zone – you pave the path while walking it. Focus instead on attitudes you think will benefit you or may become an obstacle in your relationships. If attitudes are an obstacle, do not worry. It is possible to change them. It is just good to know what they are at the start, so you can make an educated decision about whether to go into this relationship or not.
Any relationship (or what I like to call ‘agreement’) can be terminated. It will be hard for both partners but they will survive. When children are involved, things get a little more tricky. They suffer along with their parents and the impact of the experience stretches out into their future. By asking your partner these important questions before you marry, live together or have kids, you can save a lot of people a lot of pain. If you do not know the answers yet, say so. It is OK. Up to the point when you (or your wife) are pregnant, you might not have even thought of these things. Treat them like they are theoretical.
- Do you want children?
- As far as you know, are you able to have children?
- When do you think is a good age to be a parent?
- When is the oldest age you think is appropriate to have kids?
- How many kids do you want?
- What is the preferred age gap between your children?
- Would you feel unfulfilled if you were unable to have children?
- Do you have any preferred gender?
- Who is responsible for birth control?
- At what stage of a relationship do you think it is appropriate to have children?
- What would you do if there were an accidental pregnancy before you planned to have children?
- What do you think about fertility treatments?
- If you are not able to have kids, would you consider adoption?
- What do you think of abortions?
- How important is it for you to raise kids in a family with both their parents?
- How important is it for you to raise kids near your extended family?
- Do you think mothers should breast feed their babies? If yes, for how long?
- Should a baby be fed whenever it wants to eat, or should you develop a feeding routine?
- How long do you think parents should stay at home with the child during the first year of his/her life? Why?
- Who do you think should stay with the baby? Mom or dad? Why?
- Where do you think a baby should sleep? His bed? Parents’ bed? His room? Parents’ room? How long?
- What do you think of discipline?
- What was your parents’ philosophy on parenting?
- Do you believe in spanking? If so, when is it appropriate?
- When do you think the child’s opinion counts?
- Do you think boys and girls should be treated the same way? If so, why? If not, why not?
- What would you do if you did not like your child’s friends?
- How would you spend time with your kids?
- What is your opinion about education?
- Would you send your kids to a public or a private school? Why?
- What do you think about homework?
- What do you think about academic achievements?
- Who do you think is responsible for giving kids knowledge: the parents or school?
- What do you think about the discipline required in school?
- What do you think is the most important thing in parenting?
- When kids do not succeed at something, does it reflect on their parents?
- What do you think about kids and TV?
- What do you think about sleepovers? When? Where?
- What do you think about healthy eating habits?
- What do you think about food as reward or punishment?
- What do you think about hugging and kissing kids? Up to what age? Why?
- What is your philosophy about reading?
- What is your philosophy about computer games?
- Whose opinion is more important in the household?
- Who should be responsible for cooking in the house?
- At what age should kids participate in housework?
- Do you think kids should earn money for helping around the house?
- What is your view on pocket money? If at all, when should you start?
- What do you think of medical care for children?
- What do you think about having kids outside of marriage?
- What do you think the kids’ last name should be?
- How would you pick a name for your child?
- If you could give your kids the 3 most important blessings in life, what would they be?
- What would you do if you found out your kids were doing drugs?
- What would you do if you found out your kids were sexually active?
- How would you feel if your kid went to study overseas?
- How much do you think your parents should be involved in raising your kids?
- How much do you think your in-laws should be involved in raising your kids?
- How important do you think the extended family is in raising your kids?
- What do you think about working away from home when you have kids?
- What is your view on working over time or on weekend when you have kids?
- What activities (other than school) would you like to expose your kids to?
- How would you celebrate your kids’ birthdays?
- How many parties do you think kids can have during the year (e.g. end of year celebration, birthday, Christmas, New Year, etc.)? What kind? How often? Why do you think that?
- Should older kids give up their toys for their younger siblings? If so, why?
- Do you think it is appropriate to share personal things with kids? If so, at what age and what kind of things?
- Would you tell your kids that there was a Santa and a tooth fairy or would you tell them the truth?
- Do you think it is OK for your kids to have a boyfriend or girlfriend? If so, when and why? If not, why not?
- What do you consider to be neglect?
- What do you consider to be parental bullying?
- How would you show your kids that you love them?
- What do you think your kids will do that will make you most proud?
- If you have more than one child, will compare between them?
- What do you think when a kid talks back to you?
- If your kid was upset with you and said, “I don’t love you”, what would you do?
- If your child wanted to study something at university you did not agree with, what would you say or do?
- Do you think teens should pay a boarding fee for living in the house? Or is it better that they participate in household expenses? If so, from which age? How much? Why?
- What are 3 features of your dream child?
- What are 3 character traits you want your child to have?
- What are 3 character traits you do not want your kid to have?
- What are 3 traits you have and you want them to adopt?
- What are 3 traits you have and you do not want them to adopt?
- What are 3 traits you appreciate in your partner that you want your kids to adopt?
- What are 3 traits you do not appreciate in your partner that you hope your kids will not adopt?
- If something happened between you and your partner, who do you think should take the kids? Why?
- If your kids experienced trauma, would you consider arranging professional help for them?
- What would make you kick a kid out of your home?
- What would you do if your child wanted to marry someone you did not approve of?
- What would you do if your grown child experienced a divorce or relationship breakdown and wanted to move back home with his/her kid for a month or two?
As I said, the list of questions is endless. We will never be able to go through all of them. These questions are meant to help you learn things about your partner. They will help you discover the things you both are unwilling to compromise on (your “musts”). If you know your “must”, even when you have a conflict, you can find things to agree on and use them to work out a good agreement.
Remember that nothing is set in stone. We change and evolve. Gal and I are very different and we answered these questions differently. Generally, we agreed on our “musts” (it is possible that this is because we grew up together). Even today, we think differently on many topics, but the difference is not a threat to our “must”. Luckily, we are still happily together after 32 years.
I wish you all a happy and joyful journey in getting to know your partner. Remember that this journey should be a loving and accepting one. If you are in the middle of a conflict, leave it for later.
This post is part of the series Know Your Partner:
- Know Your Partner: Musts
- Know Your Partner: Questions to Ask
- Know Your Partner: Appearance, Work, Money and Health
- Know Your Partner: Education, Leisure, Holidays and Birthdays
- Know Your Partner: Home, Food, Telecommunication & Pets
- Know Your Partner: Beliefs & Attitudes
- Know Your Partner: Attitudes About Gender and Sex
- Know Your Partner: Parenting