Connecting with people is something you have to work at. Okay, so it comes naturally for some people. This article is being written with the current 1000 Voices for Compassion theme of Connection in mind. Oddly it goes along with something I’ve been thinking of for some time now and carries over from something I wrote previously in my Let your Kids be them and not you.
I’m not a strong connector these days, and haven’t been for the past couple of years. I was prior to that but now I am more of a recluse. That being said, there are people you can’t and shouldn’t be a recluse from—Your Children.
I look at a lot of problems today and I personally believe a lot of them could have been prevented if a good and healthy connection had been established and maintained between the parent and child. Notice I said a “good and healthy” connection.
My son goes to school before I get up in the mornings. Often times I am asleep when he comes home. Chronic Fatigue is part of my Fibromyalgia so I really have no control over when I will drop off and sleeping problems mess things up as well. Thus, when I am with my son I need to make certain there is that connection. It may be only a look or a couple of words but there needs to be something positive and building going on.
5 Ways Parents Connect To Their Children
- Be Less Self: I know you don’t think of yourself as begin selfish but when you consider that very often you are molding your child to be what you want them to be instead of what they should be, you are being selfish. This is in regards to utilization of talents and intellect. We should all try to mold our children into being good people, so don’t even think about going off on me about that.
- Listen: Children like to talk, IF they have parents that like to listen. You may not like to listen—Pretend. Listen to your child and respond to them. Acknowledge you have heard what they said. Your child will grow in confidence, social abilities and even vocabulary.
- Be Aware: Paying attention to your child will give you ideas and clues about their likes, dislikes, desires, goals, wishes. You will see where they thrive. I know my son. From the time he could stand and throw a ball, and I mean literally just that, he could throw a strike down the hallway to me. I knew then that baseball would be the sport he would thrive at. Did I push him to it? No. I personally wanted him to play football, but through the years I changed my mind. Knowing my son, I see that he likes to know what his assignment is, do his assigned task and still be a part of a team. Also he is not a very aggressive type physically. Football is out. Basketball? He’s tried it and it is mayhem at his age because other kids don’t do their assigned tasks on the team. But baseball? He is the starting outfielder his first year playing. I mean that as in they put him where they know a team hits to most. He is also the clean-up hitter. That means he is their power hitter. His first year playing. I also can pick out a book I know he will like. Why? Because he is like me and I’ve noticed it. He likes non-fiction books and will be watching a documentary on public television he turned to.
- Patient: Here is a big one. Patience is a hard thing to be at times. But if you are a screamer, a yeller, you will not connect with your child. And if you are a physical punisher to a bit of the extreme, you will definitely not connect. I know that one personally. Kids do dumb things at times. You will think your kid is mature one moment and then do something completely their age the next and it will make you so mad. Just remember their age and take deep breaths and count to a million.
- Affectionate: Here is another tough one, especially for a lot of men. Hug your child, no matter their age. Why? So you can teach them hugging and being affectionate is normal and a hug is a sign of love. Left on their own and without a role model, they will turn elsewhere. Hugging will turn into something not simply meant as a sign of love and affection for someone. Also words are signs of affection. Tell your child you love them. Tell them you are proud of them for random things. Or maybe say “That was awesome” to something random. Don’t reserve those words for good grades or athletic achievements.
Connecting with your child teaches them to connect with others and that takes care of a lot of things out there. You may not realize it but they are learning all those things you are doing, each of those five things I mentioned above, simply by observing what you are doing. They know you are listening, they know you are being patient.
By modeling for them these characteristics we are helping the future.
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