Connecting with our kids, even when we think they don’t want us too, is one of the greatest ways we as parents can help our families face the challenges of the modern world.
Parents can put in place all the boundaries, all the time limits, have the best education and have all the knowledge in the world about what their kids are facing, but unless they have a strong connection with them, it can all amount to not much.
It is pretty easy to foster that connection when our kids are young. We are more present physically in their lives and they rely on us for everyday tasks. As our children get older however, sometimes those connections are a little harder to maintain. They don’t need us to “do things’ for them as much. They dont need us to dress them, feed them, carry them, push them on a swing. They go out in to the world and make friends, have interests independant of us and we see a shift away from the immediate family as they strive for that sense of self. Sometimes parents see this ‘desire’ for independence as a time when the connection is no longer as strong. That we should sit it out and wait until they ‘come back to the fold’, shedding their teenage angst. But time and again the research and our experience tells us that this is one of the most important times to keep these connections strong. They might not show it, they certainly wont ask for it, but our kids need to know we are there as they face the social and emotional changes that come as they wade through adolescence.
Sometimes we hear that parents today don’t get enough time really connecting with their kids. That they are so busy with work commitments or always looking down at a device and that their kids are missing out. I’d agree that with some families that does seem to be the case. So I want us all to have a little think about some of the ways we are connecting with our kids and be a little conscious of just having times where they can just ‘be’ with us. It can be an activity together, a movie night, a milkshake or a visit to the park for some kick to kick. Or it can be 5 minutes at the end of the day just listening or talking or reading. It may even be connecting with technology, with games, with social media or texting each other.
I want to help promote these connections with our kids with a little Instagram challenge. As I not only have a love of family, but also a love of photography, I thought it might be fun to share our moments of connecting with our kids of all ages by using the hashtag #TMPconnects (translates to The modern parent connects) to remind ourselves how special these moments can be. I would love to see how you connect with your kids too, so if you use the hashtag we can all follow along. Of course if you don’t like showing your kids faces then that can be a great challenge for your creativity. And if you don’t like taking and sharing photos thats cool too. Hopefully you can help us think of some ways to help others keep those connections and lines of communication open with our kids.
So get snapping and share your moments of connecting with #TMPconnects
My first pic…. some time at the park after kinder