I love working with people and I especially love working with parents and children. I love watching the transformation that take place as their relationships become stronger due to better communication and wanting to become a better version of them-selves. However, sometimes it can take a lot of work before that transformation takes place. Typically parents come in wanting me to fix “their kids,” and the kids want me to fix “their parents.” Both of them on opposites sides huffing and puffing about how mean or frustrating the other person is, yet simultaneously wanting the same thing, “a peaceful loving relationship.”
Here are a few suggestions that you can do to help connect with your child.
1: Pay attention to your own triggers and thoughts. If you are insecure or have fears of failure , or issues with anger, it can dramatically affect your connection with your child. Do you find your-self shutting down, interrupting or shouting when your child doesn’t do what you want them to do? If so then you need to work on your own issues before you can have any influence over your own child.
2: Ask yourself the opposite of what or expect them to do. Think about it. The most common complaints I have from parents are; “my kid is lazy, she doesn’t listen, she is spoiled, she is manipulative, etc.” Lets take the example that “she doesn’t listen.” Ask your-self all the reasons why, your daughter “SHOULDN”T” listen to you. Here are some examples of the answers parents have given; “I don’t listen, I get angry when she interrupts, I think she is manipulative so I am immediately defensive, she is probably frustrated, she probably doesn’t trust me, etc” and the list goes on.
3: Learn to stay calm in the storm by not focusing on the incident. A child is undergoing massive changes and sometimes this can trigger bouts of intense anxiety, anger and sadness. They may scream, hit their sibling, skip school, not do their homework, lie etc. What a child needs at this point is a strong leader. Someone that is going to help them get through this. If you as the parent find your-self getting angry, crying, giving orders or shutting down, then you are not in control.
First check in with your feelings and thoughts.
Second ask your-self “the opposite of what you want or expect them to do.” “Why should she skip school ?” Why shouldn’t she not do her homework?”
Third: Wait until the storm has passed to talk about the incident. In other words resist the temptation to nag and lecture
4: Find a connection with your kid: All to often I will hear parents complain they don’t like their kids choice of music, the type of clothes they wear, the shows they watch or even there after school activities. Then why should your child listen to you if you don’t take the time to get to know who they are. This is a great opportunity to understand what makes your child tick and to have some positive influence. I am not a big fan of Hip hop in fact I can’t stand it. However, I will go out of my way to keep up on the latest songs and artists. This allows me to have my input and to steer them away from songs that are truly derogatory. It is not really about what YOU like. This is about connecting with your child and celebrating who she is as a person
5: It is not about competition: I will often hear parents say something like, “well I stopped nagging but she still won’t pick up her clothes, so why should I change?” “See I was right, she didn’t like that sport.” In order to change your child’s behavior you must change your own first. Okay so she is still not picking up her clothes, does that mean you must resort back to your old behavior to prove a point? This is not about tit for tat. A child needs a leader. They need to know that you are willing to change, to compromise, to be consistent, stable and reliable. They need to see that you as a parent are on their side and not against them!!!