Are Your Kid’s Bad Habits Going to Drive Their Future Spouse Crazy? What to Teach Them Today

kids bad habits

My husband and I verbally praise our son when we see him showing signs of a good husband. We often say, “Someday your wife and kids will feel so loved when you do that for them.” By those simple affirmations, we are instructing him to use those same traits in his future relationship. As a therapist, I get to dig into marriage issues with many couples. Countless times I have heard a wife say, “I wish his parents would have taught him this so we wouldn’t have to deal with it now.”

Did you ever realize the way you are raising your child today will affect their future marriage? {Tweet This} It does! You have a chance to teach your children skills that will help them be a better husband or wife someday. It’s never too early to start.

Here are some intentional ways to kick your kid’s bad habits and raise your child to be a good spouse:

1. Teach them to express emotions

Both boys and girls need to learn emotional intelligence skills. Studies tell us that men who show emotion are not seen as weak, as most stereotypes suggest. Researchers found that men who show emotion are viewed as honest. Get rid of the belief that boys need to only be rough and tough, and start preparing them to embrace the natural emotions they face.

It is equally important to teach your daughter to show emotions in a healthy way. She needs to learn that having a voice about her feelings and what she needs is healthy.  Learning to express emotions will help your kids establish healthy relationships.

2. Teach them partnership

It is important to teach your child the value of teamwork and helping others out. You can do this by giving them age-appropriate jobs around the house. So, moms, this means you can’t do everything for your kids! They need to learn to pick up their socks and toys, and they need to learn all the ways to be a good roommate. In marriage, your child will need to know that partnership keeps spouses on the same team. It takes working together to have a winning team. Give your child a chance to practice being a team player in your family.

3. Teach them empathy

A lack of empathy can destroy your child’s future marriage. Empathy is joining someone in his or her emotions. You don’t sit back and watch from a distance. You get close, connect, and see what it’s like to be him or her in the struggle. If you teach your children to do this at a young age, they will have deeper friendships and relationships.

4. Teach them to rest

It is great to instill a hard work ethic in your child, but make sure he or she knows how to relax too. I’ve heard many wives struggle with a workaholic husband who can’t be still and present when he is home. And the same struggle from husbands who complain about wives who are always up doing something and never sit down. Teach them that all roles in life are important, but there needs to be a balance between them so their future family isn’t left feeling disconnected.

5. Teach them humility

Pride can cause conflict and emotional walls in your child’s future marriage. If your child has a ‘know it all’ attitude and acts like ‘Mr. or Mrs. I’m never wrong’, your future in-law may struggle to feel heard or have an opinion. This kind of attitude will affect the way your child argues and will keep them from seeing when they need to apologize. Do your future in-law a favor and teach your child that the world doesn’t revolve around them. Teach your child to admit when he or she is wrong, to own their mistakes, and to apologize.

Regardless of your child’s age, start preparing them for this important role. Both moms and dads have a big influence on your child’s future marriage by the example you set for them. Here are 5 habits you want to make sure to break early in your kids.

What is a lesson you wish your parents would have taught you early that would have helped your marriage today?

Teri Claassen is a Jesus follower, wife to Dan, mommy to one boy and one girl, a foster mom to kids in need, and a therapist at Renewed Horizon Counseling in Tampa, FL.