Would You Rescue Your Spouse Before Your Kids?

Parenting tips from Child Psychologist

Written by Dr. John Carosso

Here’s a story for you

A Dad and his son were fishing in a boat. The son looked toward his Dad and inquired, “Dad, if Mom and I fell out of the boat and were drowning, who would you save first?” His Dad, without hesitating, responded “son, I’d have your Mother in the boat, and dried off, before I’d even think about coming after you.” The son, astonished, looked with eyes wide and was about to exclaim his disapproval but stopped, appeared contemplative, then grinned and said, “yea, that’s the way it should be.”

The kid’s pretty wise

The son came to understand that the strength of the home, the foundation of the family, is Mom and Dad, together in harmony, close in their relationship, working for the family, strong in their bond, and on the same page with the kids. It’s true, there is no stronger glue to hold the family together than when Mom and Dad are secure in their relationship, which helps the kids to also be secure with themselves. Secure kids are far more likely to be calmer, more compliant, and easier in disposition. Of course, we don’t want to interpret the story literally, any number of factors may contribute to the Dad rescuing his son first (his wife is a better swimmer…) but, of course, that’s not the point of the story.

Single parent?

If you’re a single parent, for whatever reason, then you’re undoubtedly doing the best you can, and God bless you in your efforts. The sentiment of this post in no way diminishes your diligence and love for your children, or suggests that your child is not healthy and happy. The basis of this story is simply to express the importance of parents remaining strongly committed, and clearly there are advantages of having two loving, committed, and harmonious parents working together with the kids. In a single-parent situation, of course, when possible, it’s optimal that both parents, despite separated, remain highly involved with the children, civil with one another, and work toward having consistent expectations between the homes.

Bottom line?

Simple; do whatever you can to maintain the sanctity, security, commitment, closeness, and bond in your marriage. Place your spouse first in your life (well, technically, second to God, but He too understands the importance of two becoming “one”… see Genesis 2:24). Live like it’s you two against the world, and you’ll always be ready for that overboard plunge. God bless.

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Dr. John Carosso

I work as a Child Psychologist, and School Psychologist in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania,specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD, Behavioral Problems, Autism, Depression, Trauma, and Educational issues. I also provide in-home and in-school wraparound services.