You Need to Connect with Your Kids
No matter what roles define a relationship, one of the priorities has to be connection. It’s more than communication – it’s knowing someone at the deepest level they will allow you to enter and allowing them to know you on the deepest level you can stand.
Most of us get it right with lovers and spouses, but way too few parents seem to get it right when it comes to their kids. I think maybe it is because in order to connect, you have to step into someone else’s world, and too often adults don’t deem a child’s world worthy of their presence.
Quality time is important, but in order for it to be real quality time, it needs to be something your child enjoys.
Connection doesn’t necessarily happen when you drag the apple of your eye into your life, hobbies, and interests; it’s when you wander around in theirs. I see dads that go to their kids’ soccer games and scream encouragement from the sidelines and never realize that their child really loves art museums and is only playing soccer to please dad.
That isn’t connection.
Connection happens when you are coloring with your child and just chatting about whatever subject is introduced. It happens when you watch their favorite anime or learn more about Karate – their passions and interests, not yours.
There is nothing wrong about taking your child to experience something you enjoy once in a while. Kids need a wide variety of experiences to help them grow and mature.
Sharing your interest in art museums, sports events, unique restaurants, and other things exposes them to the world and allows them to connect with you.
It has to be reciprocal.
Sometime ask your son or daughter what they would like to do, just the two of you. No matter what they say, whether it is running the track or going to a knitting demonstration, do it.
Don’t overthink it, don’t try to evaluate it, and don’t try to make sense of it. Just make it happen. If you have older kids maybe you can go to a concert or an exhibit about something they are passionate about.
Ask them to educate you about those things that they like so that you will better understand them. Let your kids be the experts in something.
Learn their language, what makes them feel valuable and appreciated. There are several books in a series called The Five Love Languages and one is specifically devoted to children. They aren’t hard to read and can really bring your relationships to a new level.
In any case, if your child feels loved when you bring them a little gift, then make an effort to stop and get them something more often. Even a candy bar presented with panache will work. Some kids need time and there are those that need a lot of one on one time. Take care of those emotional needs as much as you can.
Connection is important. It makes way for trust, communication, and understanding. Those are the things that will take you from a parent to a super parent in no time.