Connection is one of the most important things we can focus on. When we come from a place of connection, whatever is going on with our children, our response is different. Whether we are just chatting to them, dealing with a meltdown or talking to them after a meltdown, it doesn’t matter. If our primary goal is to connect with them, it makes everything much easier.
By focusing on connection, it shows them that we ‘get’ them, that we understand them for who they are and that it’s not about them not being good enough, or doing something ‘correctly’. It really is connecting with who they are.
When we do this, not only does it positively impact on our relationship with them, it helps them to know they are loved and loveable. We all know how good it feels when someone understands us and shows us they care. I know it’s not always easy to do it in the heat of the moment, but the more we can focus on creating positive connections the better for everyone.
The question is how can we do that? Sometimes it’s easy, other times not so.
If you’ve been following me for a while you can probably predict what I’m about to say. Looking after yourself is a key part of this. Connection is harder if you’re tired / stressed / ill / running on empty etc etc. At least, I find it harder. My patience is much less, my ability to see beneath the behaviour diminishes, my desire to connect whilst talking about computer games (which isn’t strong anyway!) totally disappears, to name a few of the reasons self care is so important. Whatever you do, do it. Connecting with yourself, is just as important.
How can we then connect? As you can imagine, there is no one way. Every child is different, as is every adult, so we need to find ways that work for us and our children. I thought I’d share some ideas that may work for you, or they may not, but hopefully they’ll spark ideas.
- Ask them about what they are doing. For example if they are playing a game, show interest in it.
- Send a text to show them you’re thinking about them.
- If things are escalating, take a breath and think about how to respond to help you connect with them and help them.
- Listen to what they are saying, even if you disagree. Listening doesn’t mean agreement, but it does mean they are heard and being heard is something we all want as humans.
- Leave them a note on their pillow.
- Put a note in their lunch box.
- Let them choose the radio station in the car – even if it makes you want to wear ear plugs!
- Have their favourite food in the fridge.
All of these ideas create connection in different ways. Some need less energy from us than others, so are good to use if you’re struggling. As I said, play around with them and see what works for you.
For me, creating connection is game changer. It’s not always easy, but then lots of good things aren’t. It is doable though, when we focus on connecting with ourselves as well as those around us.
If you’d like support from a community of like minded parents, why not come and join my free Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/connectiveparentingusingNVR