Everywhere we go we are inundated with people talking or texting on their phone, taking pictures with their ipad, reading on a nook. It is sad when it happens at the family dinner table. Each family member is doing something instead of engaging with those sitting next to them.
We think we are connecting with others because we have a huge list of “friends” on our facebook account, or a lot of followers on Twitter. But our heart’s cry is still for connection, to know we matter to those we live with every day.
Teenagers are no different. They need to feel, to have a solid connection with their parents. Yet their actions and attitudes seem to scream the opposite at times. It seems they would rather be anywhere but with their parents.
So what’s a parent to do?
Connect anyway! The late Barbara Johnson said, “Keep sending out love messages. Even if you feel you are trying to hug a porcupine, keep sharing your heart!” If you are anything like most parents, you have no idea how.
I have good news! Kathi Lipp wrote a book addressing this very issue!! 21 Ways to Connect with Your Kids. (Notice! It says “Your kids”, not your “Neighbor’s” kids, not the kids at church. But Your kids. The kids that need you the most to connect with them!)
Kathi offers practical, tried-and-true ideas for connecting with your children. Ideas like:
- Planning a family fun night. You don’t always get to pick the activity! Incorporate your children in the planning and implementing of the fun.
- Tell your child what you like about them. Who doesn’t want to hear this? I know I do. Along this same line, almost every night, and often interspersed throughout the day, I will tell my children, “Thanks for being my kid!” I know they had no control over it, but I love the glow their face gets when they hear me say it.
- Write a love note just for them. You could tuck into their backpack, math book, lunch box. If you homeschool like we do, you’ll have to get a little more creative with when, where and how you hide it. Try sending them on a scavenger hunt full of love notes.
- Provide a special treat just for them. Beanie, my 10- year old and I just did this on Saturday. Mr. FullCup and our oldest child ran to get another string of Christmas lights (why do you never have enough?), I also had a couple errands to run. Since Mr. FullCup took our van, Beanie and I walked to the healthfood store and then around to a favorite fast food restaurant close to our house. We planned at first to just get hot french fries to eat on the walk home. But it was lunch time by the time we got there, so we still shared an order of french fries, but we added a bowl of chili each and stayed there to eat our lunch. She loved her time.
- Work on a special family project together. As I write this, Advent season is in full-force. We’ve talked the past two nights at the supper table about how we can give of ourselves this season, with a view of doing it all year long. I won’t go into details right now, but stay tuned. It’s BIG!
If you have ever read Kathi Lipp’s books, you will want to add this one to your library. If you don’t, you will want to start with this book. 21 Ways to Connect with Your Kids.
I received a free copy of this book for the purpose of review.