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How do you keep the connection strong?

How do you keep the connection strong?

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Prolific scribe

How do you keep the connection strong?

As a fairly young person who is yet to make my own young person i have very little personal experience of parenting. However i was fortunate enough to have two pretty decent parents who i think did a a great job of raising me - which i assure you must have been a challenging task!

 

Something that i really appreiciate when i reflect on my childhood is the time my dad took to connect with me. Every month or so we'd head off somewhere to eat some tasty food and just talk, leaving my three (much louder) siblings behind. The moment of undivided attention and huge pile of tasty food helped me feel comfortable sharing some of the tougher stuff i went through in my childhood and teenage years and helped me reach adult life in one piece.

 

So I'm wondering: what do you do to connect with your child? What are the key ingredients in your relationship with your teen that keep the connection strong? Is it something that is intuitive for you? Or is it a conscious effort?

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Contributor

Re: How do you keep the connection strong?

Good question, @Ben-RO.

 

When I studied early childhood development, I learnt about the attachment theory. When reflecting upon my relationship with my daughter, I confirm that when the attachment is both ways, it is always stronger.

 

I guess your question comes to the root questions:

why do we have child(ren)? who are our children? do we need our children as much as they need us?

and further to these questions:

how was our relationship with our parents? what are the things we charish most? was there a moment that we said to ourselves: if I am a parent, I would never do this to my children?

 

Constantly reflect our own feelings and experiences might help build and keep the connections stronger with our children.


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Super frequent scribe

Re: How do you keep the connection strong?

The connection is so important but does grow and evolve along with us.... Keep on talking, but don't hover... Work out how to maintain it as relationships change
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Contributor

Re: How do you keep the connection strong?

What do you think think @Kristen? How do you keep the connection strong?
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Contributor

Re: How do you keep the connection strong?

My son is almost 17 and the family dynamic has certainly changed. I find that these days he's more interested in stories about how I dealt with the problems of adolescence. Rather than me saying "I think you should do x" he responds more to me saying "I had a similar situation and at the time I thought I should do x but later realised I should have done y." I think he appreciates that I share my teenage choices with him - both good and bad, I also try to be pragmatic and objective about subjects of sex, drugs, rock'n'roll. I'm still the parent of course and I'm not trying to be his "friend". But I do want to be someone he can always talk to no matter how bad it seems.

 

 

 

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Contributor

Re: How do you keep the connection strong?

Storytelling is a wonderful way to communicate important info!!
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Frequent scribe

Re: How do you keep the connection strong?

Is it a conscious effort? Depends how you look at it. Being conscious to make the effort? Isn't that why we become parents? Nothing to do with parenting comes unconsciously. They do not have a manual. In 2012, I was taught to 'listen to my kids' not just hear them. Being a single parent with 3 pre teens in a small country town, with no family for 300k's meant individual time was almost impossible. So we did Friday afternoon hang outs with Donuts from donut king Taree and iced chocolates from Gloria Jeans. We just sit and talk the 4 of us. 

 

I believe it set the bench mark mark for what I have now. One-on-one is still a rarity however I always make sure they know I want to know what they have to say. There have been days when they stay home from school just to hang out, and I love those days, and they treasure them. 

 

Having my almost 16 year old Daughter confide in me with things I would never have shared with my own parents, tells me I have broken that cycle. 

 

i just ensure I keep the communication lines open. It's the best we can do.  

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Prolific scribe

Re: How do you keep the connection strong?

@seaglecc sometimes I wish there was a manual Smiley Tongue

 

Do you still do the Friday afternoon hangouts? I love family rituals like that, the ones that don't seem like a big deal because they happen every week but they end up being the things we cherish the most. 

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Frequent scribe

Re: How do you keep the connection strong?

Just realised I replied with my other login.

Hi Luula,

Yep I do wish there was a manual sometimes :-).

As for weekly hang outs, I wish we did, ever since we've moved to Sydney the children joined a local youth group which meet on Friday nights. However every now and then, we do go on a Wednesday afternoon, to the local shopping centre (the bus drops them there) and get a large hot chips with gravy and chicken salt. Not as often as we did, but better than nothing. I think it meant just as much to them as it did/does me, they talk about it all the time. "It was just cool to hang out with you mum".
When they have days off school I try and make the most of it by taking them out to lunch if possible.
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Re: How do you keep the connection strong?

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I just came across an article and I really like the swimming analogy and 5 points listed in becoming "a wall" that your child can swim to:

 

1. Anticipate that kids will push off. When your child swims to you, enjoy it, but don’t be surprised when they distance themselves from you. That’s part of their journey from dependence to independence.

2. Rally your own support. Who in your life is the wall that you need, so that you can be a wall of support for young people?

And I’ll add a few more…

3. Be aware of your own anger and self-protection. I’m most likely to move away from my kids when they tick me off, or when they raise painful (and unresolved) issues in my own life.

4. Watch out for fatigue. While the source of the phrase “Fatigue makes cowards of us all” is unknown (with possibilities ranging from Vince Lombardi to General Patton), it could have been written by a tired parent. Last night at dinner, I wasn’t the parent I wanted to be—not because I lacked skill or knowledge. I simply lacked sleep.

5. Help teenagers have multiple walls—not just you. As a parent, you can’t be the only wall for your child. Our Sticky Faith research continues to showcase the importance of young people having a team of adults who combine to form a fortress of support.

In an era when young people often feel like they are splashing around in deep waters, I want my kids—and your kids too—to know that they can find refuge in their parents.

 

The full article is here