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Communicating with Your Partner

Author: Z. Andrew Jatau, LPC
Published Date: Wednesday, June 30, 2021

From a young age, some boys are socialized to communicate in a way that is not always beneficial. They may be encouraged to shut down and mask their emotional responses. Sometimes, they are taught to handle conflict or disagreements by communicating in an aggressive manner. This pattern of communication is harmful throughout their youth, but also affects them in adulthood as they become parents and partners. Some dads continue to have difficulty expressing themselves in a healthy way even to the people who are closest to them. As men, they must work to reverse what they’ve been taught and overcome their communication deficits so that they can communicate effectively with their parenting partners. The benefits to good communication are worth it.

Effective communication leads to a strong partnership.

In any partnership, communication is key. It is a way for both parties to express their needs, ideas, and frustrations in hopes for a peaceful resolution. You and your partner both want what’s best for your child, but differences in parenting approaches and decision-making can often lead to conflict. Learning how to effectively communicate in moments of disagreement is an important skill for parents and helps to resolve tension as it arises. As fathers, we are more likely to be heard if we can tap into and share our feelings rather than yelling or shutting down. Communicating with your parenting partner also includes the ability to actively listen and create a safe space for the other person to express their needs and concerns. By being able to work through issues resourcefully and develop a strong partnership, you are also creating a united parenting front, which is an important part of raising children.

Communication can help decrease parenting stress.

Parenting is stressful for everyone involved and life outside of parenting can also be demanding. Some fathers respond to stressors by attempting to take on the burden alone or by lashing out and taking their stress out on others. Both of these responses can have a negative impact on the entire household. Effective partner communication can be a way for parents to cope with the levels of stress they experience in their everyday lives. Your partner may be able to provide helpful feedback, make necessary changes to decrease stressors, or just provide a listening ear. Knowing that you can confide in your partner and share the burden of parenting and “adulting” can make life less taxing.

Modeling effective partner communication is important.

Your children are always observing and making their own assumptions about the majority of your behaviors. This is true with the way that you and your partner choose to communicate with each other, too. Your kids will often recreate in their own lives, the interactions that they see in the home. Modeling effective communication skills is important. You can show your children how to express and advocate for their needs, resolve conflict peacefully, and listen to the ideas and concerns of others. As fathers, you are also showing them that it is OK for men to acknowledge and share their feelings, and to do so in a non-aggressive manner. Seeing effective communication modeled for them teaches children how to interact in their friendships and future relationships.

Visit our Dads in Action page at CHKD.org/DadsInAction for more tips on navigating the parenting journey.



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About Z. Andrew Jatau, LPC

About Z. Andrew  Jatau, LPC

Z. Andrew is a Licensed Professional Counselor and the founder of Mylemarks, an online company that develops social-emotional resources to use with kids and teens. Through that company, he creates content such as digital downloads, workbooks, and children’s books. He’s an adjunct professor in the Human Services department at Old Dominion University, and serves as the Fatherhood Consultant for CHKD’s Dads in Action program. When he’s not working, he enjoys spending time with his family, cooking, and listening to music.