Taking Time to Parent

It sounds kind of funny to say, take time to parent.  But often we get so busy trying to keep everything going that we forget to take some time with our kids to have a simple unstructured conversation, to ask some fun questions and hear their beautiful answers.  Some of the fondest memories that I have as a child were when my mom would sit on the couch, and I would lay my head in her lap, and she would talk to me, and then one day it stopped.  As I got older, that one-on-one time wasn’t available, or somehow she found it more challenging to set aside.  It is essential for us as parents to take time to talk with our kids about how they are feeling.  Asking them without judgment, how are you doing?  Really, how are you doing?  Then let them answer with their heart, with their spirit and listen and ask more questions as they answer.  No judgment, no warnings, no criticism, no anger or arguments, just some good ol’ quiet time together–you know, parenting.

I love the photo above because it shows a mother walking quietly with her child in the forest, listening, talking, laughing and sharing.  When we forget that these are the moments that make life special, we are losing out on some of the most precious time that we have ever with our kids.  Sometimes we need to stop what we’re doing, stop what we think is most famous for the moment, and say to our child, hey, let’s find some you and me time and sit quietly and enjoy being together.  Kids get overwhelmed by life, just like we do as adults.  If all they hear is do this, have you done that, then there is no time for listening, for advice, time to really “do” the best part of parenting–enjoying time together.  After a while kids get depressed with all the busy stuff that make up their life and they begin to feel like they can’t do it all.  That they aren’t good enough or that they can never measure up to it all.

All it takes is a parent, sitting down with the child, and saying, “You know when I was your age I used to worry about . . . . ” and fill in the blank.  That will often get the child going, and then they will want to know how you figured it out.  Then you can ask them if they have ever thought that.  They will either agree or tell you about something else that you would have never known was bothering them.  When we take time to parent like this we are touching their souls; we are making them essential, making them feel loved and wanted.  Even if our own life is void of some of this, we can still pass it on to our kids so that it doesn’t self-perpetuate with our kids when they become parents.  We can say, this stops with me, and now I am going to make a difference for my child.

My mom is long gone now, but oh, how I wish I could go back and have a conversation like that.  How much it would have helped me as a child figure things out and most of all, to not worry about some of the things I was concerned about at that time.  I hope that you will take the time to try this with your kids.

Yours for Better Parenting,

Rich