Deciding to have children is a real game-changer for you and your partner. You don’t want to just jump right in because many responsibilities come along with being a parent.
This is why you want to have open and honest conversations with your partner before taking on the titles of mom and dad. Skipping this step could lead you down a path of dirty diapers and sleepless nights that you’ll regret.
Not sure how to start the conversation?
Here are 7 questions you should ask your partner before having children.
Questions to Ask Your Partner Before Having Kids
1. Who is going to take the role of primary caregiver?
In some relationships, one parent takes the role of being the primary caregiver. This may be in the role of a stay-at-home parent or just the person who coordinates the child’s meals, doctor’s appointments, play dates, and anything else that has to do with this new life that’s going to be created. Being on the same page about this can save many arguments down the road.
If one parent is going to take on this role, will it shift as the child gets older? If one parent is going to stay home, are they going to return to work at a certain point? These are the types of things that need to be discussed before having children.
2. How are we going to save for our child’s future?
According to Bankrate, the average cost of raising a child until the age of 18 is over $233,000. We all know that’s only going to get more expensive as time goes on. This is why you need to discuss with your partner how you’re going to pay for these expenses and save for the future.
Are you going to set up a savings account or a 529 account? Are you going to make monthly contributions to the account? Are both partners going to contribute equally? These are all things to consider before having a baby.
3. How will we handle discipline?
People can have very different views of what discipline should look like. Some parents yell, others believe in timeouts, and others prefer to just sit and talk things out. It’s important to be on the same page when it comes to discipline so that kids know what to expect.
If one parent disciplines a lot and the other lets things go, the children will be confused about what will happen when they misbehave.
4. What kind of childcare will we use?
Some parents try to avoid sending their children to daycare while others don’t mind. Determine what you want to do when it comes to childcare. If you have a parent who is willing to watch the baby, do both of you agree? Do you have a flexible work schedule that would allow you to work from home some days to take care of the baby? These are all things that need to be discussed before you have a baby.
5. Will we raise our child with a certain religion?
Whether both parents follow the same religion or have different beliefs, you want to discuss if your children will be raised to follow one religion. Some people are more religious than others. You want to have an idea of what your partner believes when it comes to children and religion.
Some parents allow their children to decide about their religion for themselves as they get older. Whatever you and your partner choose, make sure you are on the same page. Differences in religious beliefs can lead to arguments down the road. Anything you can do to minimize this chance will benefit your relationship and your children.
6. How do you feel about immunizations?
While you may assume that your partner feels one way or another when it comes to vaccinating children, you may be surprised when the issue comes up regarding your children. You won’t know their true feelings until you ask.
Some parents are strongly against vaccinations for children. Others will allow their child to get every vaccine that is recommended. Discuss the topic with your partner to see where the two of you stand.
7. What if pregnancy screenings show abnormalities?
During the first trimester of pregnancy, several tests are typically done to screen for medical issues such as Down Syndrome and possibly fatal abnormalities. If your tests showed any of these things, how would you and your partner handle it? Discussing how you would parent a child with special needs or other medical issues is important before deciding to have children.
The Bottom Line
Before having children, it’s important to have candid conversations about how you would raise a child and many of the “what if’s” that can arise. Discussing important issues like discipline and religion before having children can let you know if you’re on the same page. Knowing where you and your partner stand on parenting issues can help you decide if the two of you should have children together and what the future may look like as a family.