- Spend quality time. I realize my kids don’t want me to be with them 24/7 but they do like that I spend time with them, listening to what they have to say. Sometimes even just listening to their corny jokes. At times it can just be watching TV together or maybe preparing a meal together. Find something you both enjoy doing and do it occasionally, but together.
- Listen to them. Sometimes, I find that I am so busy telling my kids what to do, or expressing what I want them to do, I don’t even bother to notice that they are not listening. Realizing that I was talking to a wall, made me rethink my ways of communicating with them. That was when I tried a new strategy, instead of telling them what to do, I asked them what they thought of my idea? And then I listened to what they said. Often times , given enough leeway and openness, they have very sound ideas and opinions. After listening to them, I find they are more receptive to my subsequent ideas. It really is tit for tat!
“Love what they want to do, not what you want them to do.”
- Love what they want to do, not what you want them to do. I come from a generation of parents where we were just expected to obey regardless if we wanted to or not. Obedience was a must! I find that engaging myself in the interests of my kids opens me up to new friends and new learning. When I found out my girls got drafted to play varsity basketball, I dreaded it. I have zero athletic abilities and basketball was totally alien to me. But, get into it I did. And lo and behold, I made new friends and learned to enjoy the game. Today, my bonding with my daughters is watching the occasional a UAAP game with them.
- Do what you say, not “do as I say! “Behavior is caught, never taught.” I find it is easy for me to tell my kids how to behave or what to do. But when I do an internal check, I realize, wait a minute, I don’t really do what I preach. It’s a very humbling moment for me. This puts my expectations in perspective. I find I am more tolerant and forgiving of my kids faults when I shift to this mode. Kids expect us to live by the rules we set for them, so let’s quit the double standard and just do as we say!
- Respect their thoughts or opinions. Sometimes, I find that when I am busy, or in a rush, or when I am just so single minded in getting my ideas and expectations across, I don’t bother to stop and listen to their thoughts and ideas. This really kills their listening mode. It totally shuts their ability to listen and process what it is I want to them hear. I find, putting everything aside for a minute or two, and giving them my undivided attention to listen to their thoughts and ideas allows them to listen to mine.
- Wait! Kids are not robots. Just like us, they take them to process information. So expect a gap or lull, when you ask them to do something or to change a certain behavior or way of thinking. I find that given enough time, they will get it. But we have to wait for them to be ready to do it. My greatest weakness is my impatience. I expect that when I say something, it will get done NOW! This hardly ever happens with kids, they have their own internal body clock. And imposing our “time” on them just creates compliance with a lot of resentment.
- Agree to disagree. Our kids are not our clones. They have a mind of their own. In life there are negotiable and non-negotiable concerns and issues. So identify them and once in a while, agree to disagree with negotiable concerns. This allows a healthy respect for one another to grow and blossom.