As parents through our trials and tribulations, our elation, happiness and despair all we ultimately want for our kids is for them to thrive, for them to stand on their own two feet and be happy. The biggest question is HOW do we do this when we are dealing with not only our own ‘stuff’ but also their emotions, schedules, personalities and loving them.
Here are my top 3 C’s to help your kids to thrive.
Tip 1 – Control
So much conflict, emotion and raised voices arise in a home as a result of control. Control usually comes from a place of love and a necessity to get stuff done! However, your child (and possibly partner!) thinks it is a way of them not getting what they want or for not being fully in control of their growing independence.
At the end of the day you can control your words, behaviour, mind-set and how you choose to have fun. Your child can do the same. Neither of your should be controlling the other.
You can certainly influence your children in a way that they feel empowered to make a choice, to pick a way to do something. It might not be how you would have done it and that is ok!
Watch over the next 24 hours to see where your control or your child’s kicks in and what is the outcome? Once you can see the trigger areas or times of the day you can put systems in place to help deal with these.
Tip 2 – Connection
Our kids want our attention and the best way to give them said attention is through spending time with them. They may put on a very good show to appear like they want the latest toy, magazine, gadget or experience and they probably do but in years to come what they will remember is how you made them feel and what you did together. This is certainly not intended to make those amongst us who are time poor to feel guilty far from it; promoting parent guilt is not my thing.
How can you consciously be more present with your kids?
- Can you switch the TV off as background noise and sit and watch your kids play or join in?
- Are you able to prioritize spending 10 minutes with them before the day starts or perhaps once you all walk in from end of day activities, work, school etc.
- Are you able to sit in the car and chat to them without the radio on as you take them to their clubs?
- If your kids are still young enough for you to do bath time with them, can you be more present? Play a game? Sing songs? Play something with them in their room post bath?
- Perhaps you can share a book together one that is just for the two of you that you work through together over a number of weeks, a novel even for younger children this works well.
Tip 3 – Communication
Communication in any family is key. How do you communicate with yours?
Where emotions are concerned, communication gets trickier but it is at these emotional points in our day or week where we have to be very mindful of how we are communicating with our children.
We are their first role models and they are watching so no pressure!
A way to navigate these impulse reactions is to adopt the counting down from 5 rule in your head, this allows you time either in a split second if you count quickly or over a deliberate 5 second count to potentially consider another way to respond to your children and them with you. The purpose here is to steer away from our knee jerk response or default behaviour and consider another choice.
A family meeting or weekly chat is a lovely way to get your kids ideas, thoughts and share things that are going on for you. The success here comes in the regularity of these communication times. Can you put aside a time in your week where you come together to communicate?
How do you feel you and your family fair with the 3C’s? You may want to do a family audit of how control, connection or communication is going in your family. Above all though don’t forget in the fog of back to school routines and the lead up to Halloween and Christmas sitting there on the horizon to have fun with your kids.