In many premarital counseling programs the issue of child rearing is not dealt with in great detail. This is usually because of a time factor. Also, it’s because most couples are more concerned with immediate issues such as finances, marriage plans, and the sexual side of marriage.
Some couples do not plan for children or use forms of birth control to choose when to have children. Others can’t wait to have children. What are your thoughts? Do you feel you should have children right away? Or do you plan to get to know your marriage partner better before having children? How long should a couple wait? These are important questions to ask each other, and discuss your views.
The following questions are designed to help you formulate your thoughts and verbally set forth a plan for child-rearing. Share together your thinking in this important area of marriage.
Ask and Discuss the Following Child Rearing Questions:
1. Do you plan to have children?
2. How many children would you like to have?
3. How long would you like to wait before having children?
4. Should a couple wait until they can afford to have children?
5. I feel that it is important for the father to be present at the birth of a child?
__ Yes __ No __ Undecided
6. If we cannot have children, my feelings about adoption are:
7. What are your feelings if you would have only boys or only girls?
8. How much should a husband participate in the care of a baby?
9. What are your feelings toward sharing equally in all of the activities of care and raising of children (feeding, changing diapers, late-night responsibilities, etc.)?
10. The names of children should be determined by:
11. The responsibility for the discipline of the children lies with:
__ Husband __ Wife __ Both
12. I want my children to learn the following values, rules, and characteristics:
13. My parents used the following discipline with me:
14. I want to discipline my children in the following ways:
Plus, Ask and Discuss:
15. Who should be responsible for assisting children with homework?
__ Husband __ Wife __ Both
16. My thoughts with regard to leaving children in daycare or with babysitters are:
17. Who is responsible for buying clothes for the children?
18. Who decides what gifts to buy for the children?
19. I feel that the place of pets in our home is:
20. I feel that favoritism of children in the home is:
21. What is your opinion about standing behind your mate’s discipline of the children?
22. If you have children by a former marriage, who will discipline your children?
23. If you have children by a former marriage, do you foresee any problems with visiting rights of the divorced partner? Explain:
24. In discipline, how strict do you think parents should be?
25. I think the most important thing in child discipline is:
26. I think that praising children involves:
27. How much should parents sacrifice for their children?
28. What are your thoughts about parents caring more for the children than for each other?
29. What message do you think is conveyed in Psalm 127 and Psalm 128?
30. I have the following questions concerning child-rearing:
These comments and questions are a sample of the material that comes from one of the chapters in the insightful pre-marriage book, How Can I Be Sure?: Questions to Ask Before You Get Married, written by Bob Phillips, published by Harvest House Publishers. This book is actually designed not to be an “answer book for marriage problems,” but rather to be an inventory and “discussion guide to help couples open up important channels of communication; express their thoughts, desires, and feelings to each other; and enhance their growing relationship together.” There is a good explanation in the beginning of the book for Pastors and counselors, teachers, and leaders (as well as for couples alone) to know how to best use this tool to aid couples to know each other better before marriage.”
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