raisingkidswithlove

You don't have to be perfect to be the perfect parent!

Want to talk? Meet your kids where they are…


I just finished a conversation with my son if you use the term lightly.  I texted him to check and see how his day was and if he got registered for the classes he wanted, and he responded.  A few years ago, I would have thought this was an odd way to have a conversation with my child.  I have learned since my son left for college, that if I want to talk, texting is my best option.  I always get a text back, and usually even an “I love you”! (even though I insist on hearing his voice about once a week!)  I have met him where he is at right now…

Thinking back, I realize that my best conversations with my children have been when I have “met them where they are”.  If you are a parent of a very young child, this may not make much sense.  Parents of infants have the ability to get face to face and “talk” with their baby and get smiles and coos back in return.  Soon however, you have a mobile toddler, and the captive audience you used to have may be a bit more difficult to contain.  Your best conversation time with your toddler may be the times they crawl up on your lap for a story, or when you are sitting on the floor playing with them.  The tween  and teen years can be the most difficult.  At the age when you want to be sure that you are most connected with your child, your child really may not want to be connected with you!

My best conversations when my children were school aged were during carpool time.  The kids were captive and often there were other kids in the car.  I really learned what was going on simply by listening!  Other good conversations happened when I shopped with the girls or Brad was fishing or shooting hoops with Connor.  Those conversations may have consisted of just a few words in the midst of the activity, but the time we were connected even in silence was invaluable.  I had met the kids where they were…..

Take the time with your older children to sit on the end of their bed every night, for just a moment.  You will be amazed what will be shared at the end of a day, in a moment of silence.  Make it a habit.  Some evenings you may laugh, some evenings you may just talk about their schedule the next day, but sometimes, you will get a glimpse into a worry, a question, or share a dream.  It is in those moments that you are able to share a tidbit of advice, help your child wrestle with questions of adolescence, and even reaffirm the morals and guidelines you have instilled in them since they were young.  Don’t ever deny a moment of conversation, because those moments are often few and far between.  How often I remember thinking, “Really,  now we are having this conversation….at midnight?!   I am exhausted!”  Or one of the kids would stop in our bedroom on their way to bed after an evening out and want to talk about what they did, who they saw, or something that happened.  I promise if I would have said, “We’ll talk in the morning.”, that conversation would never have happened.  Every conversation is an opportunity and a gift.

Meet your kids where they are.  Communicate on their terms and you will stay connected.  Connection is the key to keeping an open relationship during those teen years which arrive more quickly than you can imagine.  It is essential in helping your child find their way in a society where so many want to lead them astray.  Soon, when you are sitting on the end of their bed, you will realize that your child is nearly grown and that in addition to loving your teenaged child…you really like them.  Wow…

Take a breath, enjoy the joyful moments of each day, and remember you don’t have to be perfect to be the perfect parent.

Cindy

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2 Comments

  1. What a great post! I can just picture sitting on the edge of my kids beds! I love it when they come home and tell me a great story about their day or even better when they come to me with questions about life in general!

    Like

    • Thanks! Special times sharing with kids in the evenings…memories I have tucked away! Kids need that designated time just for them, so important!

      Like

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