“The greatest gift you can give your child is a strong relationship
between the two of you.” John Gottman
I’ve been thinking a great deal this week about how to maintain connection with my children, 11 and twins who are 8…
The morning starts with nagging about what needs to be done, followed by more demanding nagging … compounding this is time pressure to get them to early morning activities while they are in ‘go slow mode’!
From the moment I wake up there is a feeling of being stressed, if I were looking in from the outside I would be able to see – my frustration, my anxiety and my exhaustion (and its only 7:45am!)
We finally get out the door and to the car and make it to school with no time to spare. The boys jump out the car, blow me a kiss and then they’re off… as I drive away I experience a feeling of sadness and emptiness … I reflect on these feelings later in the day and realize that there has been no ‘connection; with my children this morning. I didn’t have time to check in and see how they slept, what they dreamt about, or ask what they were looking forward to about school or perhaps what they were dreading or worried about. This is the way it is in the busy lives we lead. How do we balance the balls we are juggling? How do we stay true to what we value as our role as parents? And not get caught up in “what our peers or society” are expecting of us?
I decide and make a little pact with myself that when I pick my boys up from school today I’m going to STOP, I’m going to sit next to them and have some afternoon tea together (with no distractions from TV or mobile phones) just chatting about their day, being a bit silly and not rushing… or I may attempt some “love bombing”, create special time/ mummy time for each child1:1, it only needs to be 15 minutes but is very powerful – it may be reading a story, sitting on their bed chatting, playing a game, kicking a ball outside. But ultimately I’m going to make sure I’m not nagging about homework or chores that need to be done… I’ve come to realize too that my children need to take responsibility for themselves and what needs to be done – the more I overwork and over function for them the less thoughtful they have to be. I strongly believe that part of my parenting role is to create self sufficient and competent children, not children who are dependent and needy. I am curious about how the more I ‘connect’ with my children by just ‘being’ the more they want to do the right thing.