From Kids: What Can Parents Do To Connect? Part 3 of 3
I asked my kids the other day, "What can parents do to connect with kids?" I have three kids, so I got three pretty different answers. This is part 3 of 3.
In part 1 of this blog post, we talked about spending alone time with your child. Read the full part 1 post here
In part 2, we talked about playing games together to get to know each other better. Read the full part 2 post here
Kid Suggestion #3:
One of my daughters said, "Show your child that you trust them, give them responsibility, and loosen the reigns, and they will feel more connected to you and start to open up more."
Ok, now obviously this is from my 15 year old daughter that is eager to grow into a young adult and is desperately seeking to answer the question "Am I an adult yet?" I think we can take some of that advice at face value...and just accept that reality and realistic desire. But I also think this advice needs some unpacking and exploring.
At face value...my daughter IS growing up. She doesn't need to be told everything we want her to do. She IS becoming more responsible and trustworthy, and is starting to feel more independent. Along with growing up comes more responsibility and autonomy. I get it. As your child goes from adolescent to teenager to young adult, you definitely should evolve their treatment and grow WITH them as they mature.
When you do this, you should be treating each other with mutual respect, and that will naturally improve your communication and relationship. Looked at with a broader perspective, just think...one day you are going to wake up and your child is going to be in college, graduated from college, in a serious adult relationship and hopefully happily married.
At what point are you going to transition from instructing your children in every detail of their lives to letting them live their own lives? (ie. "loosening the reigns") This is not an overnight thing. It's gradual. And the same is true for evolving your trust level and giving more and more responsibilities to your child. But, as for us parents, it needs to be an intentional movement that we are actively part of. WE need to let go a little to give our little growing young people the space to grow into adulthood. When you do that, your relationship WILL improve.
Now, the part I disagree with is that "loosen the reigns" can also be code for "leave me alone...don't talk to me...let me spend all my time on my phone with my friends." That is not an ingredient for a healthy relationship. It might work if you are dealing with a roommate but it doesn't work in a relationship. It's ok for a time, but there needs to be an intentional putting away of the devices so you and your family can connect with the distractions of group text beeps coming from their phone.
OK...there you have it. 3 suggestions from my kids on how to connect better and improve your relationship. What are your thoughts on this topic?
If you have your own suggestions, please leave them in the comments. Ask your own kids...and share what they suggest here too!