Connecting with our Kids
My children are adolescents now, life has changed so much and they naturally want to spend more time with their friends.
My husband and I definitely want them to have every opportunity to experience new things, and to enjoy the things they love to do, especially with their friends. But, we live in such a busy world and sometimes we feel like they are slipping away just a bit too much, just a bit too soon. That somehow in all the craziness of life the most important thing has been overlooked. FAMILY TIME.
The reality is that in our busy, stressed-out lives, our primal parenting instincts have been dampened, and we need to re-awaken them. According to physician, author and childhood development expert, Dr Gabriel Mate,
“For the first time in human history children are more influenced by their peers than by adults in their lives. And developmentally that’s a disaster.”
I don’t need to tell anyone how to attach to their kids, it’s our natural instinct.
But somehow, in so many ways, we are less and less available to our kids and we have lost sight of how important attachment actually is, leading them to looking elsewhere for attachment, usually their peer groups. Our kids need someone to connect with, ideally their family, and continue to need to stay attached right up until they turn into adults and especially through the tumultuous teenage years.
For my family, as much as we can, we connect by eating meals together, but hubby works long hours and often can’t join us. Then there’s homework, after school and weekend sports, hanging with friends and social activities and suddenly we have lost sight of when we were last all together, just us. But TIME is the one thing we need to build deep family connections, for bonding, attachment and sharing experiences we all love.
So when I announced last weekend that we would be having a FAMILY DAY, the teenager grumbled and gave me the bottom lip ‘cause he was invited to meet his mates for a round of golf (again). Part of me felt bad for holding him back (even though he’d just played the previous day), and whilst I almost waivered #mothersguilt, I stayed strong, knowing deep in my heart what was best.
Perhaps one of the most challenging part of having adolescents is finding opportunities to spend time with them and finding things to do that everyone will enjoy. We ended up going on a lovely, long walk through the Malabar Headlands, visiting the grandparents, and once home we all hopped into the kitchen for a two hour cooking session!
Did the kids bicker? As if I need to answer that!
Was the day perfect? Off course not!
Did we all still love the day? Absolutely!
And we all felt the beautiful deepening of our family bond.