There are no guarantees when it comes to parenting. You can be the best parent in the world and do everything right but there’s absolutely no guarantee that your child won’t grow up and walk away from you.
If you build a relationship with your child, though, the chance of ultimate rebellion happening is very small. What usually brings a child back is not all the truth we’ve taught them but what kind of relationships we’ve built with them.
7 ways to relationally connect with our children
(from “The 21-Day Dad’s Challenge: Three Weeks to a Better Relationship with Your Kids” by Carey Casey pages 11-14)
To affirm means to “validate and confirm.” Affirming our children’s feelings tells them they’re real people with valid feelings. When we identify with their excitement or disappointment, we let them know that we care and that they’re understood for who they really are.
Our acceptance helps our kids believe that we will still love them no matter what happens. Acceptance is embracing our children for who they are rather than what they do. When our children feel accepted by us, they’re more likely to be vulnerable and transparent, opening up greater trust between us and them.
Appreciation shows our children they’re valued and that their accomplishments make a difference. Accepting our children tells them that their being matters; expressing appreciation to them tells that their doing matters too. Catch your children doing something right and show them appreciation.
Expressing affection to our kids through loving words and appropriate touch communicates that they’re worth loving. Every expression of care and closeness provides emotional reinforcement, helping our children to realize that they are loved.
Expressing affirmation, acceptance, appreciation and affection to our children is critical, but we do that only if we make ourselves available to them. When we are not available we are saying in essence, “Yes, I love you, but other things still come ahead of you.” Our children spell love T-I-M-E.
We need to find out what is significant to our kids, no matter how old they are. Then we need to step into – approach their world. When we step into our kid’s world, it shows them we care about what they care about.
If we don’t balance the above relational connecting points with loving limits and boundaries, our children won’t learn responsibility. Accountability provides the parameters within which our children can operate safely and securely.
How’s your relationship with your child? Which of the seven connecting points seems most likely to help?