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Do Outside Relationships Change After Baby?

When you have a child, you will need to readjust your relationships with other people. This doesn't mean you need to give up close friendships or never see your family. It might even mean the opposite. But the rhythm of your lives has changed, which means the other parts of life will change as well.

Family Involvement

The reaction that your family has after you have children will vary. It might depend on how close you were to begin with, or whether your child is their first or their seventh grandchild. But, you can bet that most of the time they will want more involvement with you, rather than less. Bringing a child into your lives is a family event. Your lives are more public than they were before. You are carrying on the family for your parents, and they have a stake in how your child is raised.

Hopefully, your family's involvement will be mostly a positive thing. For the most part, your children will benefit from involvement with them. Don't deny your children access to a family member because you are carrying a personal grudge. Children can bring out the best in others and might help you put aside past grievances.

There are often family members who are interfering and might become more so when a grandchild or niece or nephew is involved. If you have a particularly difficult relationship, or if a relative has been abusive, you will need to be more cautious.

When you have children, you have many new responsibilities. If your family lives nearby, they can share these with you. Encourage your family to help out. If either of your parents is able to baby-sit, say yes. It's a great way to have time alone together without having to pay for it, not to mention the value for your child. Welcome your parents and siblings into your family; they will enrich the lives of your children. And, if they are willing to baby-sit, they can give you much needed time alone with each other!

Marriage Q & A's

Q: My relationship with my parents is not great. Does that mean my children won't get along with them as grandparents?

A: If you have a grudge against one of your parents, remember that he or she is your child's grandparent, not parent. The relationship between a grandparent and grandchild is different than a parent-child relationship.

Friendships Change

All of a sudden, you will start seeing your friends as those with children and those without children. The ones with children will understand your new rhythm of life. They will realize that it's not always so easy to get a baby-sitter and get together with them. They will probably enjoy getting together with you and your whole family.

Your friends without children might need some education. Your relationship with them might change. They might be offended that you don't want to pay for a baby-sitter to go out and get a bite to eat; you would rather have them over for dinner. They might get annoyed that you cannot finish a thought completely before your child needs something. If this happens with some of your friends, don't write them off. Explain your new constraints (involving both money and time) to them. Hopefully, they will understand and you will be able to enjoy each other's company in different ways than you did before you had children.

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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Perfect Marriage © 2001 by Hilary Rich and Helaina Laks Kravitz, M.D. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit the Idiot's Guide web site or call 1-800-253-6476.


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