The PREPARE/ENRICH group of inventories provides facilitators with plenty of scope to explore the impact of a child on the couple relationship.
In response to the statement, “Raising children would put an additional strain on our relationship”, it is always surprising, but somewhat understandable, that many respondents disagree. Asking couples to reflect on how they think that they, as children, impacted on their parents relationship can often encourage them to think more realistically about this new life stage.
While the couple discuss their observations it is an opportunity for the facilitator to encourage the couple to identify the strengths and skills that will support their own transition to parenthood as well as to name potentially negative experiences.
PREPARE/ENRICH also offers the facilitator the opportunity to explore the mother/father role with couples. A question like, “Do you want to be a mother/father like your own parent?”, challenges couples to think more deeply about the experience and whether they want to be different.
It is also important to be on the lookout for divergent views between the couple about having children. The PREPARE/ENRICH group of inventories provides facilitators with plenty of scope to explore the impact of a child on the couple relationship. PREPARE/ENRICH couples can sometimes expect a partner to change with marriage and ‘come along’ with the decision to have a child even if they seemed different while co-habiting
In the case of PREPARE/ENRICH clients remarrying it can be even more complex for the couple who want to become parents together but who have other children. Half and step sibling relationships have to be managed respectfully while the couple negotiate their own roles with, and rules for, their biological child. These may be different to those for the other children who may move between houses and be subject to different rules. A useful starting point for this discussion is “My partner and I are adequately prepared for the realities of blended family living”.
In summary, the statements in PREPARE/ENRICH cover most of the key areas including, seeking a difference of opinion about number of children - difficult when one party does not want children) and the timing (very interesting in view of the older couples we are seeing in our couple work). Participant responses always make for an interesting session.
There is however an assumption that couples will succeed at becoming parents. There is not a question that relates to the impact on the relationship of not being able to have a baby – this topic is a challenge for the facilitator and one that requires sensitivity.
- To get started with the Parenting Version of PREPARE/ENRICH, you will need to locate a qualified facilitator of relationship and parental education. PREPARE/ENRICH Certified facilitators can be located in your area by contacting PREPARE/ENRICH or by using the search facility on the website: For Couples
- To get started with the Parenting Version of PREPARE/ENRICH, you will need to become PREPARE/ENRICH Certified by attending a Workshop.
- Once trained, Contact Us to activate the Parenting Version in your facilitator account.
- The cost to activate the Parenting Version is $40
The PREPARE/ENRICH Parenting Version is Now Available: Register here >
PREPARE/ENRICH is a customised online assessment tool that identifies each couples unique strength and growth areas. Based on their assessment results, a facilitator provides feedback sessions, helping couples to discuss and understand their results while teaching them proven relationship skills.
For more information on the Parenting Version or to simply set up a couple on the tool, please contact: www.prepare-enrich.com.au or call today (02) 9520 4049 #prepareenrich
This article is written by Jenny Cleal (one of our Trainers in Victoria and Co-ordinator of the LifeWorks Marriage Relationship Program) and was first published in Threshold March 2006. Threshold is a magazine about marriage education and is available to all marriage and relationship educators, celebrants and counsellors in Australia and New Zealand.