How to have a Better Relationship with Your Child
Do you desire to get to the heart of your child…to know how they’re really doing in different aspects of life? Jacob directs us to practical, specific ways parents can make that happen. Check ’em out.
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:36-40
Our relationship with our kids is one of the greatest relationships we have the opportunity to experience. While these relationships are often the hardest, they have the possibility of bringing the greatest joy. Many parents are not sure of how to approach their children especially when it comes to asking questions about their heart, feelings, or struggles.
While you might be concerned about how best to approach this, I want to encourage you today to seize the opportunity you have to approach them even if you’re unsure of the best way.
Life is about relationships. Be intentional. Ask hard questions. Walk alongside them as they struggle to understand the life they experience and the bodies they live in. Let’s look at a couple of ways we can be intentional with our kids this week:
- Model your expectation – If you want your kids to share the details of their life and the feelings that go along with those details they are more likely to do so if they see you model that. No, they might not ask you how you’re feeling but you can share a story about your day and lead into how that experience made you feel. Better yet, you and your spouse could have a conversation in the proximity of your children modeling for them the types of questions and answers you’re wanting to experience with them.
- Be consistent – The best thing you can do when seeking to hear and understand what your child is really struggling with is to ask consistently. More than likely they aren’t going to open up on the first try. Continue to ask open ended questions that require more than a “yes” or “no” answer. And weave these conversations into everyday life. You don’t have to wait for a sit down moment to have a “heart-to-heart.” More times than not your kid will be more open to sharing while they are occupied doing something else – throwing a ball, going on a walk, driving to practice, etc.
- Practice active listening – When your child does open up about what is really going on in their life, it is important that you actually hear them. Ask follow up questions like – “I just heard you say…is this what you meant…” When your child opens up they need affirmation! This is your opportunity to relate (not answer) and encourage (not “fix” or “preach”)! A response of affirmation could sound like, “that sounds really hard” or “I can understand why you would feel that way.”
Our kids are searching for something meaningful in a world filled with meaningless things. Whether they show it or not, our kids long for us to hear and understand the struggles they experience each and every day.
What is the hardest thing you are facing at school right now? What’s the hardest relationship in your life right now? If you could tell your parents one thing you need from them, what would it be?