Connection: The Only New Year’s Parenting Resolution You Need to Make
Posted on January 1, 2019
Hundreds of parenting resolutions are splattered all over social media. Two that have caught my attention repeatedly are “spend more time with my kids” and “yell less.” To me, both of these really scream a desire for connection. And it’s true. We want nothing more than a deeper or stronger connection with our kids.
When we lack that connection—because we are not spending enough time with them or the time that we spend with them is filled with yelling and arguments—our conscience tugs at us, and we’re burdened by guilt, which then leads us to make promises and resolutions like the ones above.
But, alas, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have hypothesized that it’s positive habits more than a determined mind-set that are the real key to achieving long-term goals. Moreover, only 19 percent of people are successful in reaching their goals over the span of two years! Yikes! That might be okay if your resolution pertains to exercising more or self-care. But when it comes to our kids, we cannot fail them. How then can we guarantee a 100 percent success rate in connecting with our kids?
Here are two simple tricks:
- Take 5: Spend 5 minutes a day with your kids doing nothing—no-thing. I cannot stress enough the bond that this tool will help create between you and your child. It is this simple. Connection is the product of quiet time spent together. Not time spent running errands or driving to activities, but time spent doing nothing. This does not mean that you need to sit quietly, which is almost impossible for young children. It simply means spending time together in a quiet space, perhaps out in nature. It could be sitting on the balcony of your apartment, in your backyard, on the front doorstep, or in a nearby park. Find a quiet spot that helps quiet the mind. It’s a guaranteed way to deepen connection.
- Respect your kids: No matter how young or old they are and no matter if they’re wrong or right, respect your kids as you would want them to respect you. No exceptions, no buts, no ifs. Talk to your kids respectfully— no poking, no sarcasm, no foul language, no authoritarian tone of voice, and never ever an “I told you so” or “because I said so.” Even if they are being disrespectful. You cannot fight fire with fire—we all know that. Yet, in the heat of the moment, it is the mistake that most parents make. So check your emotional temperature first. If you feel like you’re losing it, walk away, take a few breaths, or simply tell your child that you’re upset and you need a few minutes to gather yourself. Self-management is the best way to show respect, and it’s also the most challenging. Finally, when you’re right, practice being kind first.
Respect is the only voice of love. It is through respect that the ocean of love that we have for our kids is seen, felt, and heard. It is through respect that we can give our love an actual voice. It is through respect we can truly honor our children. This is why Honorable Parenting is the very first chapter of my book, The “Perfect” Parent. Without this foundation, everything you build will be weak and will crumble. There is no deeper way to create a connection—a lasting relationship—with our kids than by showing them the basic respect that is guaranteed to bring out the best in us and in them.
They say there is no magic formula to raising kids. I say that that is not true! Taking five quiet minutes a day and respecting your kids unconditionally is the magic formula to raising kids—connected kids—kids who are connected to themselves, to you and to their siblings, friends, and peers.
If there is any New Year’s resolution that you want to commit to, let it be one that plants the seeds of connection and gives our kids a lifetime skill that will help them succeed and make this world a better place.
Wishing you and your families a Connected 2019!