It feels like there is so much that needs to get done every day: Laundry, dishes, making meals… Whether you work outside the home or not, there just don’t seem to be enough minutes in the day to do it all. I’ve heard too many stories of parents who feel completely out of touch with their teen. I wonder how much of the disconnect started long before high school, when all the day-to-day life stuff got in the way. Connecting with your older child really starts earlier than you think. Maybe even right now.
How to Start Connecting with your Older Child
The biggest hurdle to get over is knowing what it is that makes your child feel loved. Some kids are easy to figure out, while my big kid others are more withdrawn and can be tough to understand. Last year I read the book The 5 Love Languages of Children: The Secret to Loving Children Effectively and it really helped me to get to know my oldest. I was able to figure out his needs and how I can let him know that he is loved. Once your child knows 100% that he is loved, your relationship will improve by leaps and bounds.
John Crudele is known for saying “Kids spell love T-I-M-E”. It’s a hard thing for us busy moms to set aside what we want or even need to do, and spend time with our kids instead. I get it. I’ve been there. When you’ve got upcoming deadlines or projects and you just can’t stop what you’re doing. But spending time with your kids is an investment that you won’t regret.
Show an Interest in what Interests Them
You know what I couldn’t care less about? Minecraft. Or any video game for that matter. But I have a teenager who just loves playing video games. I could roll my eyes when he starts talking about the grand plan that he and his buddies have to kill an ender dragon and make a bunch of potions, but instead I listen carefully to what he has to say. I ask questions to show that I want to understand the game that he loves so much. Next thing you know, he’s asking me to come see the building he created. And it’s actually kind of interesting! Connecting with your older child starts with showing an interest in what they do. From there, you’ll get the chance to hang out and do other things together.
I’m not saying my relationship with my oldest is perfect. We have our ups and downs. I’m also not guaranteeing that every parent-child relationship will be perfect. Some kids will push back no matter what you try. I encourage you, my mom friends, to keep on loving your kids even when it is hard.
How do you connect with your older child? Do you feel like it is easy to encourage them to spend time with you? Let’s continue this conversation in the comments section below.