Have a great relationship with your children that you can be proud of / Part 2
In Part 1 I made mention of the first 8 ways how to have a great relationship with your children. Isn’t it ironic that you need to have a license in order to drive a car but not for becoming a parent? You even have to take a test before you can hit the road.
That is not so with parenting. We get training for the birthing process, well, if you choose to listen. You are completely on your own once you click the car seat belt of the child safety seat when you leave the hospital. Ironic? I think so. The rest is left up to tribal knowledge, well-meaning relatives, and the internet.
Information and advice really gets slim when it comes to how to have a great relationship with your children. Most of us fly by the seat of our pants and are glad when another day without major issues has gone by. Would it not be great if they will always want to come back to you from time to time after they have left the nest? It does take a bit of intent on your side to make that happen and it is really not all that tough.
Here are 10 more thoughts how you can give them a great reason to stay connected with you. You can fess up to it – you will like it too.
9. Good notes are one thing – but they are not everything. Teaching them what a balanced life looks like does not start with hammering into them that good notes are the only worthy objective in school. Making and having friends is just as important. So are after school and leisure time activities. That may mean that you will turn into a volunteer dad- and mom-taxi for quite some time. Fight the state of just doing and let them know that the state of being is more important.
10. Have dinner with them every day. That may not happen all the time, but make the concerted effort. It fosters a sense of belonging and appreciation for each other. Dinner table conversations are price less. Oh, and yes, please shut off all your TV and electronic devices. “What was the best / worst part of the day?” is a great conversation starter.
11. Let them help prepare meals. Preparing food is a very personal thing. It is about your likes and dislikes, but most importantly they get to make the food that sustains the family. It drives a sense of accomplishment. High selfesteem is an all but guaranteed outcome. The smells and experiences will stay with them forever. Don’t you remember when your grandma or ma prepared you favorite food and how it made the house smell?
12. Engage with open ended questions. Practice asking why, when, what, where, an how. Ask them these questions when they go to bed. Here are some examples: What was the best (most interesting) thing of the day? What was fun? What was scary? How did this make you feel?
13. Be authentic – yourself. No reason to pretend to be someone or something that you are not. Children soak this up and thrive on it all by themselves without a lot of intervention.
14. Teach them about the power of their own choices. They learn the same from bad and good choices alike. Make it count. Bad choices come with meaningful consequences. Good choices should be fairly rewarded in a timely fashion and should not go overboard. Be at your fairest self.
15. Do community work with them. Serve others without expecting to get anything back in return. This goes back to the roots of our human condition: Do I leave footprints behind and do my contributions count? When you do things for free and have no expectation level, you will pay much more attention to people’s reactions. Precious memories in the making. Helping out at a community fair or at a local food bank are some of so many examples of where you can make a difference on others and your children.
16. Travel. Seeing different areas, countries and people is a great way showing them that there are many ways to do the same thing. It teaches them diversity. Only very few things in life are universally good or bad. More often they are in the middle somewhere. Choosing the best solutions is a great life skill to learn. It also teaches them how to deal with changes of environment and the challenges and significant stress that come along with traveling.
17. Allow them to learn another language. Language can separate people and they can bring people together – when you can speak a common language. The words we know now may be limiting what we can possibly convey. Many language programs exist in schools. Let them have a field day at learning at least a second language.
18. Tell them that you love them and mean it. Do not be surprised when you see how much your short folks (children) will do for you for nothing more than a pat on the back. Sure, make certain they earned it, but always, always tell them that you love them.
Remember that your children will eventually pick your senior living quarters when you get old. Seriously, family is all we have – coming and going. Make your relationship count right from the start. Give of yourself to the children without expecting much more than their attention in return.
Please share how you have been maintaining a great relationship with your children in the comment section.