Take The Time To Build A Strong Connection
And the key word here is to take the time because the life of a parent can be a very busy one at times. I know I’m very busy running two businesses. My wife and I raising three children and it can get very busy — no, it can be very crazy sometime. So, it could be difficult to take the time to explain things properly and to teach them the proper way of behaving or the proper way of dealing with a situation.
Sometimes the frustration in parenting comes because our communication has become too brief and our expectations for them to just get it have become too high, and the problem is the child doesn’t get.
When my three year old got upset one day and dumped his breakfast all over the floor, it would have been faster just to send him to his room and sit there and clean up the mess ourselves. And that’s almost what happened because at the time I was preparing for a coaching session, I really didn’t have the time to be dealing with this at that moment and I just wanted it dealt with and over with because I had to get back to work. But fortunately, this happened during a very calm moment and I decided that it would be better to take the time to help him learn how to clean up the mess himself.
As a result, even though it took more time, a lot more time than just cleaning it up myself, we started with a hug which allowed him to calm down, and then I showed him where the broom was in the closet so he went and got the broom out of the closet and then showed him how to use it properly. So, here’s how you lay down the dustpan, here’s how you use the broom, here’s how you use the broom to get the stuff into the dust pan, all of that.
By the way, he’s three years old; he’s never done it before. I can’t just hand him the dustpan and the broom and expect him to know what to do with it, yet how many times as parents do we give our kids instructions that they really have never been taught how to do, yet we expect them to magically figure it out? So yes, it took way longer to teach him the proper way and I was almost late for that coaching session. But here’s the thing, if I was to simply clean up that mess myself, he would have been relying on me to clean up his messes either forever or until I do take the time to teach him. Although it took way longer than if I was just to simply clean up the mess myself, now he knows how to do it and now he’s eager to help us with other cleaning jobs in the house.
He knows how to do it. When other things are on the floor, he’ll go grab the broom and the dustpan himself and just clean it up. He doesn’t need us to tell him to go and do it. But, the best part of that story is, at the end he thanked me for teaching him how to use the broom. He was like, thanks daddy; I didn’t know how to do that. And that was really awesome!
That’s when I really realized that that’s what is required and it’s important to take that time. I also realized that our relationship grew stronger that day because of the way that situation was handled. It was originally a very tense and emotional situation for him and we were able to calm down, we were able to solve the situation and he learned a lot as well as gained a lot of confidence in the meantime. It had the potential to be an emotional battle; I mean this could have been a battle, absolutely. But, instead it became an opportunity to deepen our connection.
So, what I learned from this is that when we take the time to each our kids, not only do they learn how to become more independent, but it actually strengthens the relationship. And this can work well for learning from mistakes like the example I just gave or it could be just spending some quality time playing with the kids.
When we get really busy, do we really spend enough time with the children? My wife and I are extremely lucky to be work from home parents, but we also get very busy between taking care of our three boys and running our three businesses. So busy in fact, that we don’t always spend enough time playing with the children. And I’ve noticed that when this happens, the boys’ behavior can get a little crazy.
Now when I noticed this, instead of trying to control a behavior, or fix the behavior, or what do I need to do with these kids, I realize that look. It’s probably because I haven’t been spending enough time with them. And so, my wife and I have learned to stop what we’re doing and go do something fun. The fastest way to turn the pattern or behavior around for us is to go and do something fun. So, it’s not a punishment thing. It’s wait a minute, we need to go and we need to deepen our connection, we need to work on the relationship.
The first time we tried this, it was amazing to me how well behaved the boys were after just an hour of playing in the park. I mean it was a complete turnaround. The morning was nuts, we went to the park for an hour, we come back and they’re just good as gold. They’re so helpful, they’re getting in there and they’re part of the family. They’re not fighting with each other and all of that.
And the fact that I’ve noticed the positive effects of that time spent lasts for several days, so it’s not like you have to stop working on your stuff or stop being busy. No! It just means that we can be more proactive about it. Therefore, what we do as a family is we have a weekly family game night during the week and then we also spend some time doing some fun things on the weekends. We find that that works very well to sort of keep that connection and the behavior is at a very, very manageable level.
So, by taking the time to teach and play with our children, strengthens the connection we have with them and has a lasting positive effect on their behavior.