Have a great relationship with your children that you can be proud of / Part 1
Being a parent is not easy to say the least. Small children, smaller issues; big kids, bigger issues. That probably sums it all up. By the time the teenage years come around hormones set in, parents are no longer cool. It will not take much longer and they are out of the house and they want to spend less and less time with you.
Some of this is totally natural. You need to provide the solid roots for them to have a good footing in life. On the other hand, you also should want to let them grow wings such that they can fly away eventually. Finding yourself in today’s world is tough and I am glad that I do not have to do that again.
You hope that you have a solid relationship with them that they feel they can come back anytime – eventually. They should of course not feel like that they are being shamed into seeing you regularly. Wouldn’t it feel great if they felt compelled to ask you for advice later in life?
You increase your odds by always having maintaining a great relationship. There are some really quick and simple ways for this to happen
1. Start early. Children are like batteries – you charge them up early in life and they will not run out of power for quite some time. Make sure to teach them great habits from the day they are born. Some say it starts as early as when babies are still in the womb. I have seen this so many times that parents start imposing rules when children are 3 to 4 years old. Guess what: the train has left the station; that is way too late to start.
2. See the world through their eyes. Literally and figuratively get down to their level. See the world through their eyes. Empathy and compassion go a long way and starts with seeing things the way they see and experience them.
3. Spend time not money: The best and most expensive baubles, trinkets, clothes, shows, etc never make for long term sustainable relationships. They get to know whom they can pump for money and what they need to do or say in order to get it. All it takes is to ask them what they want to do. Be amazed how little it takes for them to be totally happy spending time with you.
4. Instill intrinsic motivation. Punishment and rewards for tasks performed do not work well when they leave the house and they join the working population. I call it the sugar and whip routine. Intrisic motivation comes from within your child; it cannot be forced from the external world. Your short ones look for your approval, and genuine appreciation. Share with them – often – why you are happy about what they do and who they are.
5. Let them fail. Hover over them all you want, ultimately you will not be around forever. Let them fail, otherwise they will not know what to do when you are not around to save them. Easier said then done, I know. It is hearbreaking to watch too. It is the circle of life. Suck it up, or get used to the idea of the mental picture of you becoming the crutches that hold up your kids.
6. Do not be too critical. Yell often and you will no longer be afforded the truth. Period. If they are getting beraded by you for every little bit, then what is the point for telling the truth anyway? They would get yelled at either way. Telling you a halftruth is their way to get yelled at less. Pick your battles wisely.
7. Provide responsibility with authority. With any responsibility there is always also authority. Be prepared to get inundated with the question “what do you want me to do now?, if you only provide rules, but no wiggle room how your little critters are supposed to make it happen. Instead, outline responsibility and the authority that they have so they can make this happen all on their own. Authority here means the things that they are allowed to do without asking you.
8. Foster spirituality. Be a role model here. In the evening say a prayer with them appreciating the great things that happened. Reflect on the lessons learned. Pray for people in need. In the event you can coax them out of bed early enough, say a prayer with them in the morning. Appreciate what you have and be thankful for it. When they are ready, ask what God means to them (prepare for shedding tears of laughter and deep emotions).
This is part 1 of 2. Has this shaken your snow globe a little and inspired you to do something about it? Children are a blessing. They will stretch you and enrich your life. Please do not be shy sharing your thoughts and this blog of course. Here is how you get to Part 2 of this post.