Become Friends with Your Children
- Whitney Hopler Live It Editor
- 2001 8 Aug
Here are some ways you can develop and strengthen friendships with your children:
- Ask the Holy Spirit to help you know how best to express your love for your child or children.
- Arrange your schedule so that you can spend significant one-on-one time with each child, doing activities that he or she chooses. Take a passionate interest in who your children are, and seek to discover new aspects of their personalities daily.
- Pray with and for your children to help them discover God's purposes for their lives and His will for each of their decisions. Encourage your children to seek God's answers themselves rather than depending on you to do it for them.
- Take advantage of every opportunity to assure your children of your love for them and encourage them to pursue their dreams. Support them as they take risks. Model for them what it's like to follow God in faith; show them that life is a great adventure with God as the guide.
- Laugh often with your children, enjoying a variety of situations together. Be willing to be vulnerable enough to laugh at your own foibles in front of them.
- Provide lots of opportunities for your children to participate in activities such as music, art and sports that help them use and develop their creativity. Talk with them frequently about what they're learning and how they can apply it to their lives.
- Encourage your children to serve others as often as possible - from helping a fellow student who is being bullied to going overseas on a short-term mission trip. Let your children observe you serving others frequently.
- Be spontaneous with your children whenever you can. Surprise them with an unexpected weekend trip. Send flowers to them at school just to encourage them. Let them stay up past bedtime occasionally to do a fun activity with you. Mail them invitations to a special outing.
- Show your affection for your children openly and regularly. Be emotionally available to them, willing to talk about the thoughts and feelings that you and they experience, whether positive or negative. Give them plenty of hugs and other types of supportive physical touch to affirm your love for them.
- When you make mistakes, let your children see you confess them to God and ask for His forgiveness and grace to do better. When you hurt your children, ask them to forgive you. Teach your children God's moral standards and let them experience the consequences of making wrong choices, but be willing to forgive them as well. Discipline them, but assure them that you'll love them no matter what.
- Openly and regularly show affection to your spouse in front of your children, and let your children know that you're committed to maintaining a great marriage. Pray for your children's future spouses.
- Share information about your career with your children. Let them observe you working, ask questions about what you do and why, meet your coworkers, and even see your paycheck. After they see how hard you work, let them know that that they are even more important to you.
- Teach your children as much as you can about God, and make attending church together a priority. Encourage them to seek God on their own and celebrate ways they experience His presence in their lives.
Adapted from Dare to Raise Exceptional Children: Give Your Kids a Sense of Purpose, a Sense of Adventure and a Sense of Humor, copyright 2001 by Clint Kelly. Published by Albury Publishing, www.alburypublishing.com, 1-800-811-3921.
Clint Kelly is a communications specialist for Seattle Pacific University, a freelance writer of more than 600 articles, and the author of five novels. He and his wife Cheryll have four children.