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Take Five


Take Five

February 21, 2023

This content is provided in conjunction with This Emotional Life’s Early Moments Matter initiative. Early Moments Matter is dedicated to making sure that every child has the best possible chance at emotional well-being. Find out how to receive the Early Moments Matter tool kit and provide one to a family in need.

Oh, the power of a well-placed break; a short power nap on a long workday; an intermission at a play; the seventh inning stretch. How about the nine month stretch?

Transition to parenthood is challenging. Research shows that two thirds of all couples will experience a precipitous drop in marital satisfaction following the birth of their baby.

Those cute little bundles make us so happy and fill us with love and delight, but also stress us out – which can make us and our partners irritable. Our communication breaks down and we find ourselves not working together as a cohesive unit. Believe it or not, this is very common and pretty “normal,” but it’s still icky – and avoidable.

Effective communication is the cornerstone of satisfying relationships. Go out of your way to talk with your partner several times throughout the day. Inquiring about how they are doing and what’s on their mind; you’ll be letting your partner know that he or she is a priority and that you care about them.

If you really want to give your bond a boost, be sure to avoid negativity and criticism and instead compliment your partner for something that they did right.

“Thank you for changing peanut’s diaper.”

“Thank you for picking up dinner.”

“Thank you for helping me edit my blog post.”

Recognizing, appreciating and commenting favorably on your partners contributions will increase the emotional connection between you and also increase the likelihood that they will help again in the future (hint, hint!).

For those conversations that get off to a bad start, well, that is where the well placed break makes all the difference. Couples guru, Dr. John Gottman, recommends that if the first few of minutes of a conversation or argument are met with criticism, your best course of action is to take a break from the conversation for a little while. Collectively ­agree to separate for twenty minutes or more, with an agreed upon time to come back together and try again.

For an effective break that leads to great resolution:

DON’T use the break as an opportunity to let your frustration fester and conjure up all the retorts that you wished you said earlier

DON’T use your break as a way to avoid your partner

DO use your time to relax and emotionally calm down

DO make sure you feel calm and composed before resuming the conversation

Employing effective breaks will greatly enhance your ability to approach the subject matter with a clearer head and be more creative in your problem solving and compromising abilities.

Expectant and new parents can learn and develop these and other relationship boosting tips at Bringing Baby Home workshops. You, your partner and peanut will be glad that you did.

That’s a wrap.

Early Moments Matter is relying on our community to help build a movement and we’re asking for your help to spread the word about this valuable resource. Get your award-winning Early Moments Matter toolkit that introduces ways in which parents and caregivers can help their children build secure attachments. Your simple act can help parents and families in need.

Dr. Alyssa Berlin Bio

Currently a Certified Gottman Educator, Dr. Berlin leads the internationally acclaimed Bringing Baby Home workshop once a month.

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