Connect with your child
- Whitney Hopler Live It Editor
- 2001 20 Jul
Here are some ways you can develop and strengthen that vital connection:
- Fully accept and affirm your child for who he or she is rather than on whether he or she performs well at particular tasks. Embrace the gift of your child as God has made him or her, and help your child discover the uniqueness of God's calling on his or her life.
- Change your priorities and your schedule so you have a large quantity of time to regularly spend with your child. There is no such thing as "quality time" without "quantity time." True quality moments with your child occur spontaneously as you both go about your day together. Realize that sacrifices will be necessary, but that they are exceedingly worthwhile.
- When you spend time with your child, engage in activities that enable you both to fully interact with each other. Activities such as watching television together are too passive to build a connection between you. Choose active pursuits such as cooking or walking in a park together.
- Seek God's guidance and power so you can mix love and truth well as you make parenting decisions. Studies have shown that parents who consistently discipline their children while also lavishly loving them produce the healthiest children.
- Rather than just telling your child how you would like him or her to live, model those choices so he or she can see what a healthy life looks like and understand why certain choices are important to make. When you make mistakes, let your child see you confess them, receive God's forgiveness, and rely on His grace to do better in the future.
- Pray about how God would like you to guide your child, and set your parenting goals accordingly. Remember that each child is unique, and can grow best with nurturing tailored to his or her individual personality. Be proactive by seeking out opportunities to fuel your child's development in all situations, keeping your goals for him or her in mind as your target to shoot toward.
- Create distinctive family memories together, such as by celebrating special holidays and taking trips.
Adapted from The Name of the Game: Making a Lasting Connection with your Kids, copyright 2001 by Steve Schall. Published by New Leaf Press, Green Forest, Ark., www.newleafpress.net.
Steve Schall is founder of the youth organization K-Life, which helps kids network with others in the community to build positive relationships so they can withstand negative peer pressure.