Don’t laugh at me, but sometimes I imagine what my relationship will be like with my daughters when they’re older. What will they be like when they’re 12, 16, 18, 26? Will we butt heads or will we have a close relationship? I wonder about our connection and if they will feel like they can count on me.
As I reflect on these things, I’m sure of one thing; what I do now will impact the relationship I’ll have with my girls later on in life.
More than anything, I want my children to trust me and know that they can depend on me. On some days, I feel like I’m progressing wonderfully towards this goal and on other days, I feel like I’m messing everything up.
For this month’s Parenting Resolution, I want to focus on doing things that let my children know that they can depend on me. Here’s what I’ve come up with….How do you let your children know that they can depend on you? #parenting Click To Tweet
I think this is probably the most important things I can do as a parent. When my children have a problem or a challenge, it’s important that they feel like they can always talk to me. Listening can be hard. Sometimes I feel like the voices of my children are chattering non-stop in my head. At times I even I wish I could shush them so that I can have some peace and quiet.
Then I think about the people in my life who I’m most fond of. What I appreciate the most about them is that they’re great listeners. I feel like I can tell them anything and that they truly hear me. I want my children to know that when they talk to me, that I will listen, lovingly and non-judgmentally.
Here are some ways to let your children know that you are listening to them.
One of the best ways to let someone know you are listening to them is to give them your complete, undivided attention. This is most often reflected in the posture of your body and through eye contact.
I recognize that I can’t always immediately drop what I’m doing to listen to what my children have to say. When I’m busy, I’ll let them know: “What you’re saying sounds important. I want to give you all my attention. I just need 5 minutes to wrap this up before we talk, okay?”
Ditch the screens and electronic devices.
It feels like I’m continually working on this. I do blog work in the afternoons while my children have “quiet” time. More often than not, my time is interrupted by at least one of my girls. I have caught myself answering their requests while still looking at the computer screen.
I want to stop doing this altogether. I need to practice this with my husband too.
Be an active listener.
When I was in my Early Childhood Education program, one of the key practices they taught us was active listening. Unfortunately, I practice this more with people outside of my immediate family. Active listening involves being attentive to what the other person in saying. It discerns and clarifies the meaning, intentions, and feelings behind the words the other person is speaking.
This month I want to focus on using active listening techniques with my children.
Responding with love.
I think this is a critical way to let my children know that they can depend on me. For instance, if they have a frustration, struggle, or they’ve made a poor choice, I want to respond as gently and as lovingly as I can.
Responding with love can be particularly challenging if they made a poor choice. However, I’ve recently come to realize that we learn best from our mistakes. I don’t want to shame my children when they mess up, but rather I want to encourage them to assess how they would do things differently if confronted with a similar situation in the future.
Help when it’s warranted.
We seem to live in a culture that pushes the notion of independence. I, as an early childhood educator, know the importance of allowing children to assert their autonomy. I wonder, though, if this constant push for independence sometimes pushes our children away.
I’ve been reading The 5 Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman. This book has prompted me to consider my parenting techniques – specifically with my youngest daughter. It never occurred to me that when she asks for help, and I tell her that she can do it for herself, that she could be perceiving this as rejection. What if her love language is acts of service?!
I’m going to pay closer attention to moments like these and help my daughter whenever she seems genuinely overwhelmed by something.
Lastly, another way I can let my children know that they can depend on me is by prayer with and for them. By offering to pray with my children, I’m letting them know that God cares for them, and He will always be there in their challenges and frustrations.
I want my children to know that they can depend on me spiritually and that I will be here to lead and guide them through prayer whenever they need it.
This month’s challenge:
This month, I would like to challenge you to think of ways you can let your children know that they can depend on you.
Will you do me a favour? Can you share with me how you let your children know that they can depend on you? Then take a moment to share this article with your parenting tribes.
This post is part of The Parenting Resolution series. The entire series is here:
Introduction: The Parenting Resolution: Make 2016 the Best Year!
Challenge #1: The Parenting Resolution: Creating a Learning Plan
Challenge #2: How to Stop Yelling at Your Kids
Challenge #3: How to Say More Yes and Less No
Challenge #4: How to Let Your Children Know They Can Depend on You