Tag Archives: Conversation

5 steps to better bonding with your kids

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We adore them, those worming, squirming, strong-minded kiddos of ours.  But that doesn’t mean we get them.  Closeness to them matters more than job security and a good credit line, combined.  Yet, try as we might our ownership manual never arrived in the mail.

We must push their buttons and coax their minds in the hope that we will parentally succeed where others have failed.  What can we do?

5 steps to better bonding with the most complex gadgets we have, our children:

1.  Ask questions. 

Not inquisition style, but inquisitive style.  We ask because we care.  Their thoughts are way more fascinating than TMZ.  Even silly questions build foundations.

I enjoy ones like, “If you could bring any toy with you on a long plane ride, what would it be?”  Remember, when they answer, they share their opinion.  Opinions aren’t wrong.

2.  Think ahead and make the questions complex. 

Remember the good ‘ol days, when your family asked you questions, and you responded with the standard one-word response? Conversation didn’t get very far.

Solid questions require thought.  If you were answering, could you respond quickly in one word or with detail.  Kid convos which include details grow the conversation, lack of details kill it, and not in a good way.

3.  Answer questions.

If our children know they can approach us on any topic, and they won’t be chastised or criticized, the likelihood they’ll return for more questions increases.  I knew a teacher who had a poster in her class which stated, “The only stupid question is the one you never ask.”  If we stick to that attitude, our kids know it and welcome our involvement in their lives.

We will have to let them know we’re open to their questions, though….especially if we have older children.  A simple statement like, “Do you have any questions for me?” opens the conversational door to our lives.  We will have to repeat the phrase often before we hear strong content questions, but silly ones still help them trust us.

4.  Make eye contact.

Ever have someone talk with you who doesn’t look at you?  It’s disconcerting.  This happens to children constantly.  We often need to stoop down to make eye contact, and this small workout pays off more than regular trips to the gym.  It shows how valuable we feel they are.

5.  Plan play times.

Not play-dates with friends, but family play time.  Make sure it suits your family’s personality.  Play could involve word games or rhyming.  It includes video games or Twister.  Play can be as detailed as a full-fledged family baseball game or as simple as a round of Angry Birds in the doctor’s office waiting room.

As parents ,we often tell our kids what to do and not to do, but play enables us to simply enjoy being together, because we like one another.  You could sign up for every movement activity in town and join team after team, but if your family doesn’t enjoy time together, you’ll miss valuable connections which last a lifetime.

My choice today:

Make the effort to build bonds with my kids.

 

In comments, share ways you strive to build better bonds with your kids.

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Do you hear me now?

Human ear
Image via Wikipedia

Have you ever known someone who loved the sound of their own voice?  You know the type.  They start a conversation on one item then continue to another, then another, barely breathing.  The mouth moves and it’s as if they’ve recorded each detail of every day in its totality.  When you get together, they push the play button and recite each moment as it happened.

You like this person.  They aren’t mean or anything like that, just chatty.  Actually they aren’t just chatty, they verbally vomit their day onto the least suspecting person.  Sorry, it’s true.

The listener

What can we do with a friend like this?  Here are some ideas:

1.  Exercise compassion.  They probably don’t realize their capacity to recall daily details.

2.  Recognize loneliness when you see it.  If they saved up all day, maybe no one connected or attempted to connect with them prior to you.   Maybe they spend much time alone and have lost conversational skill practice.

3.  Know the flow is coming and mentally set a timer.  They probably repeat this pattern, so you might as well recognize playback season for what it is. They will reach a finishing point, believe it or not.

4.  Make an effort to connect more regularly.  Yes, that’s what I said. More is better.  By having more regular contact with others,  the loneliness dissipates and true conversations can begin.

The speaker 

As you read this, perhaps you see something in yourself, maybe it’s you who has become the verbal vomit specialist.  How can you redirect and build better friends?

1. Ask questions first.  Before you play your recording, come up with questions you really want to ask other people.  When you ask, bite your lip and allow them to press play on their day.

2.  Listen more than you talk.  This will take great effort because the lips have had more practice than the ears, but there are two of them and maybe they need more use.  There is a danger though.  Listen with the purpose of truly hearing what the other person says, not just waiting for your chance to speak.

3.  Seek to know your friends better.  True friendships develop because we care about one another.  Your friends need to know you care about who they are not just their ears.

4.  Apologize early and often.  As they say in Alcoholics Anonymous, the first step is realizing you have a problem.  If your friends know you are working on this area of your life, they’ll be inclined to support and encourage you and maybe even listen more.

And what’s the Bible connect to all this listening and talking stuff?  Jesus often said, “Whoever has ears, let them hear.” (Matthew 13:9)  Funny, He never said, “Whoever has a mouth, let them talk.”  Just something to think about.

By the way, if I haven’t said it lately,  “I am sorry.”