You drive them to school. You attend their sports games. You even have an occasional meal with them. Yet, you still feel like the relationship with your children is superficial. You want to be “the go to person” for your teenager, but are not sure how to “break into their world.” There may not even be a lot of conflict between you two, but you still feel like acquaintances. Here are some suggestions that will take a minimum of 5 minutes per day that can help you connect with kids:
1. Become an observer
As a mom, find out what influences them or what captures your kids’ attention. Where do they spend most of their time? Does your son spends a lot time gaming with his friends, or connecting with them on social networking sites? Does your daughter enjoy spending time with her friends on her sports team? By observing where they find social connection, you will better understand how to connect with them.
2. Become a learner
One reason to find out what interest your kids it so you are able share in their interests. If you don’t know a lot about their favorite thing, then learn about it! Google is an amazing resource for moms. Or just ask your children some non-threatening questions about what they like. Non-threatening questions simply acquire more information, even asking for their opinion. For example, instead of saying “Why do you like this band?” try saying, “This music sounds really interesting. What do you like about it?”
3. Be an encourager
Like me, kids make mistakes. Often, their decisions do not make any sense to me as their mother. But, when the dust settles, they need to be encouraged. They need to know that they are more valuable to us than their failures. Encouragement comes in many forms: verbal affirmations, physical hugs, a well written note, calm demeanor and tone of voice.
As with anything in motherhood, this is a process not perfection. What other ways have you found to help connect with your kids?