Dr. Rich Patterson

Connect With Kids

What does it take to connect with kids?  I mean, what do you have to do to touch them on their heart to open communication?  Let’s take a look at how to establish excellent connection with kids.  There are five essential points to be aware of, among many.

First, ensure that your child has several someones whom they can talk to about anything.  Hopefully, you will make a list, but if not, then you have work to do.  These adults are just around and available for kids.  It may be a youth pastor, YMCA staff member, an organization, club, or activity of which they are a member.  It should be someone who tells stories, laughs, helps them develop values, challenges them to rise higher, and helps with the obstacles of life.  Several of these types of people help build that resiliency or the Teflon coating to which I refer.

Second, write, text, or speak words of encouragement to them.  Know their schedule, what tests they have, or what presentations they may have and be on top of communicating with them.  There is an ad on television where an elementary child sits down in the school lunchroom to have his lunch, opens his lunch sack, and finds a note from his parent.  I think that would be just wonderful, even as an adult.  Try this with your spouse; I bet you’ll get a friendly phone call from them.

Third, know what your child loves and share it with others.  Brag about them in front of other adults.  Be able to tell how they work at something, like a particular sport or musical instrument.  Tell some stories about how it has helped them and changed them.  Do all of this in front of them, so they are within ear-shot, but also use that knowledge to connect and support them in their activities.  Helping them make connections with things like sports and music, which take years to develop higher levels of performance means they are with solid kids.  Just the type of kids you want them to be around.

Fourth, put together special events for them where they can invite friends, or have friends come over.  My sister is a tremendous cook, and her three boys were well aware of her great cooking.  Frequently throughout their years growing up, the focus was to have friends over for some food that everyone could enjoy.  Along with the food goes activities so they are playing and having fun, laughing and teasing each other all while you are there as an adult.  Time together definitely helps build relationships in both ways.

Fifth, ask them what their favorite music, sport, book, hobby, phone app, whatever you can think of to help connect.  Ask them to show you how to use it and to show you how they use it.  Have them load it on your phone, even if you already know how, and use it with them.

These five ideas help adults to connect with kids in such a way that they feel comfortable about you.  When we take time to do this, and to allow them to tell you what you may already know, we are building relationships.

 

Yours for Better Parenting,

Rich