5 Tips for a Better Relationship with your Kids
August 14, 2023 | Jen Kenerly
4-5 minute read time
No matter how old your kids are, you want to be a great parent, right? I don’t know about you, but it’s tempting to think that we need to create big, magical moments to show our kids we really care. The truth is we have to make hard choices every day about how we spend our time. We often have to decide if we will take care of the urgent things or the things that truly matter. There’s the pull of football practice and dance, laundry, dinner, homework, and meeting that work deadline. Urgent things chip away at our time and if you are like me, you can feel like you fall short of that best parent goal. I can’t help you with being busy. What I can do is offer you this simple, transformative, idea: leverage the time you do have by making the little moments matter. Here are my top five tips that I believe matter most.
Instead of focusing on the orange film growing in the teenager’s shower try making an intentional shift in your thought life. We all know what negative thoughts about our kids turn into. Focusing on our frustrations turns into us voicing them (often in not the most pleasant of ways). When we take those thoughts captive, as 2 Corinthians 10:5 states, we have an opportunity to change them. When we chose to think about our son’s character-that he is so thoughtful or kind, we have a springboard to change the dynamics of our relationship and the culture of our home. (I’m not saying not to teach our kids responsibility. But, that is a different blog.) To dig a little deeper I love Dr. Caroline Leaf, a brilliant neuroscientist that is worth the follow on Instagram.
Proverbs 18:21 tells us that life and death are in the power of the tongue. Let that sink in. (You may need to read it again.) Our kids are fighting a battle in their minds. Every day they are told by the world and others what to believe about themself. It’s not always kind. You have an opportunity to speak life to them and over them. Send them out the door by recognizing one of their strengths. Let words of affirmation set the tone for their day so they can let the other words more easily roll away.
Being Present Matters
It’s tempting to take care of as many of the urgent things as we can. It’s normal to make a phone call when we’re driving and wash dishes during homework. But one thing that makes a huge difference is being fully present in these moments. Why not leverage these moments with our kids? When they are talking, turn the water off and look them in the eyes. Put your phone down and become an active listener. Ask questions. Being consistently fully present will change your relationship in ways you can’t imagine.
I’m sure you’ve said things like, “He has to calm down.” “She has to speak up!” “Why won’t they do what I tell them to do.” Before you think you need to “FIX” your kid, understanding their wiring may help. In Ephesians 4:21, Paul writes, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” One of the most helpful tools for putting this into practice is a resource called, A Grown Up’s Guide to Kids Wiring by Kathleen Edelman. Instead of being frustrated, you’ll understand that your very blue child may be a little more apprehensive to share in front of others. You can give him a little more time. Instead of squashing your very yellow child’s excitement, you could celebrate with them for a moment so they know you are on their team. When we learn to communicate with our kids in a way that builds them up according to their own needs we are not only doing what the Word of God says, we will see major wins in the health of our relationships.
We live in a culture that thinks truth is subjective. As followers of Jesus, we not only believe that there is absolute truth, but that the Bible is its measuring stick. Our kids are hearing and reading things every day that are in direct opposition to God’s Word. As their biggest influencer, we must point our kids to God's Word as their compass. Hebrews 15:4 tells us that teaching Scripture and the encouragement it provides will give us hope. Isaiah 54:13 tells us that our children when taught of the Lord, will have great peace. I know my own children need Hope and great Peace. The internet makes it easy to look up Scripture that will help our kids with their circumstances and faith. Start confessing and praying those Scriptures aloud and watch their faith grow.
So, rather than try to create extravagant moments that we often fail to pull off despite our best intentions, let’s put these five things that matter most into practice and leverage the little moments we have every day. It takes intentionality and we believe community is key! Which is why this fall we’re inviting you to unpack this idea with other parents and a coach at our Parenting Moment by Moment seminar with expert Becca Gunyon and a new small group offering centered around Intentional Parenting.
Join us at Church on the Hill on September 16 from 9 am - 1 pm for Parenting Moment By Moment. This workshop led by Becca Gunyon, author of Making Ordinary Moments Extraordinary, is designed to empower and equip parents of children from birth through graduation. The goal? To help you make ordinary moments extraordinary in your parenting journey. Visit onthehill.life/parenting for more information or to sign up.