Why Is Parenting Your Partner Unhelpful?

May 23, 2023

Shelby Cook, LISW-S

Why Is Parenting Your Partner Unhelpful?

Unhappy couple sitting in a room

Image Text: How is parenting a partner unhelpful

ALT-Text: Parenting a partner

Image Source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/unhappy-black-couple-sitting-on-bed-after-having-argument-5700170/

Certain activities are fine when you are interacting with your children, yet inappropriate when interacting with a spouse. You may not be fully aware of what you are doing, much less how your spouse could perceive it. From tying up laces, packing lunches, implementing your choices as the “right choices,” being a constant reminder for their chores to feeding them and doing the “baby talk,” everything is considered parenting a partner.

Most people would argue that they do it because they care; however, the general consensus of the party receiving all that care sometimes feels suffocated. Here learn what is parenting a partner and how to avoid it.

What Is Meant Of Parenting A Partner?

Parenting a partner refers to when one partner in a romantic relationship takes on a role similar to that of a parent. This can manifest in a variety of ways, such as by giving orders or directives. The parenting partner may tell their partner what to do, how to behave, or what decisions to make—criticizing or correcting the partner while pointing out their partner’s mistakes or flaws and offering unsolicited advice or correction.

Another symptom is controlling or micromanaging their partner. People who try to act as parents to their spouses would try to control their partner’s behavior or activities, such as how they spend their time or who they socialize with. The partner may take responsibility for their partner’s problems or struggles, enabling them to avoid taking ownership of their own actions or decisions.

Overall, parenting a partner involves taking on a dominant or superior role in the relationship rather than treating your partner as an equal adult partner. This dynamic can be detrimental to the health and happiness of the relationship.

Reasons Why You Should Not Become Your Partner’s Parent

Parenting your partner can be unhelpful for several reasons:

It Creates An Unequal Power Dynamic

When one partner takes on a parenting role, it can create a power imbalance in the relationship. The partner who is being parented may feel infantilized or belittled, while the other partner may feel resentful or burdened by the responsibility.

It Undermines Adult-to-adult Communication

Parenting your partner can make it difficult to communicate as equals. It can be hard to have open, honest conversations when one partner is always taking on a superior role.

It Can Erode Intimacy

Intimacy in a romantic relationship requires mutual respect and trust. When one partner is constantly being parented, it can erode the sense of trust and respect necessary for a healthy, intimate relationship.

It Can Lead To Resentment

The partner being parented may start to resent their partner, which can lead to conflicts and potentially the breakdown of the relationship.

Wrapping Up

Overall, parenting your partner can be unhelpful because it can create a power imbalance, undermine adult-to-adult communication, erode intimacy, and lead to resentment. Instead, it’s important for partners to communicate as equals, respect each other’s autonomy, and work together to build a strong, healthy relationship.

A girl cutting off the conversation with a guy.

Image Text: Why Is Parenting Your Partner unhelpful?

ALT-Text: Parenting a Partner

Image Source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/expressive-multiethnic-couple-having-conflict-on-street-6147230/


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Stritof, S. (2022) Why treating your partner like a child can destroy your relationship, Verywell Mind. Verywell Mind. Available at: https://www.verywellmind.com/parenting-your-spouse-is-not-okay-2302899.