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Dr. John Rosemond, Facebook page
Some friends of mine, both of whom have careers, also have two school-age children. After school, the kids are transported to a day-care center, where they stay until shortly after five o’clock, when their father picks them up and takes them home.
Several years ago, my friends created a rather unusual rule: For thirty minutes after everyone gets home, the children are not allowed in any room where their parents happen to be. They can play in their rooms or, weather permitting, go outside. The parents take this time to unwind and talk as they prepare the evening meal.
Until they created the thirty-minute rule, my friends had felt obligated to devote themselves to their children through the entire evening. The more attention they gave the children, however, the more disobedient the children became. Eventually, and not a moment too soon, my friends realized that the kids had taken over the family. In pursuit of good parenting, they’d created a monster!
Realizing that their relationship with one another was more important than their relationship with their children, they moved their marriage back to center-stage in the family. The thirty-minute rule was one of the many major policy changes.
Today, I would describe these children as independent, secure, outgoing, happy, mature, playful, obedient, polite… need I go on? Their parents cured them of their addiction to attention by putting the marriage first. In doing so, they defied a whole set of “shoulds” that operate in many, if not most, dual-career families.