Throughout the course of my work as a parent coach, I have often heard parents express concerns about their children’s behaviors and talk about the common glue that binds us all: the need for acceptance, appreciation, and love.
Many parents stay in fifth gear as they whirl through the week of work, school, homework, meal preparation, and sporting events. They have very little time for rest, reflection, and the quiet corners of their homes. More than one parent has commented on the resistance her child has to leaving home on Saturday morning. The comfort of staying in pajamas and having a second bowl of Cheerios with Mom or Dad is too appealing.
Why not create more time for cuddling on the couch, watching cartoons, and that blissful second cup of coffee while you catch up with your child? It is tempting to get a swim class or karate class to develop new skills and exercise, but time in your home enjoying the day without having to repeat another round of “chasing the clock” is therapeutic for everyone in the family.
Togetherness and time in the home are rare these days. So many of us feel the need to “stay in the race” of competition for that potential Olympic athlete or Rhodes Scholar. Time to slow down and say “I like this time together right now” is also important to your child’s self-concept and the feeling of family.
Many challenging behaviors are often a result of children simply needing acceptance for who they are and more unscheduled time with parents. Getting to know their interests, what they are thinking about, and what excites them is a window into who they are. To have an adult stop and talk in an unhurried way says, “You are important.” As parents, we tend to center our interactions and communications around accomplishing things: homework, chores, tasks. What if we dedicated just one morning to our children without an expectation, or condition, or having to be somewhere to perform something?
For all of us, the need to stop, to sharpen our tools and to reflect, is very necessary for getting through the next busy week of activities. I have had many parents report that dropping the Saturday morning activity released pressure and added instant happiness into their homes.
During the winter months, we see the dormant stages of nature before us. Trees drop their leaves; animals hibernate. As mammals ourselves, we need to restore our minds and bodies during this time. It is also a good time to restore and grow the important connection to our children.