Great Relationships, Great Kids (Part 1)
The single greatest influence on your children is their relationships. In fact, I would venture that the quality of their relationships will determine how well they will turn out! If your children are around good influences, they will turn out good. If they are around bad influences, they will turn out bad. So as parents, we must ensure that the influences in our children's lives are good influences as much as possible -- that the influences that become relationships in our children's life need to be aimed toward goodness, not harm. I will develop this idea about the relationships your kids have with the various people and things in their world and how it influences them in a different blog, but for now, I want to focus you on the relationship they have with you.
The relationship that your children have with you should be first and foremost. Study after study have proven that the greatest influences in a child's life are the parents or guardians. If you are going to maximize the influence you have over your children for the good, then you must understand the secrets of developing a relationship with your children. Since not every parent knows how to develop this vital relationship with their children, that's where I can help.
To start, I would try to determine the condition of each relationship between you and each of your children. Ask yourself, "Is the relationship I have with (child's name) positive and not overly negative?" "Do I have a real relationship with (child's name) or just a business interaction?" "Does (child's name) feel he/she can talk with me and am I willing to listen?" These are important questions to gauge where to start. I would also suggest taking into account what each of your children needs at each age or stage of their life, their temperament, what they are going through, and what they need from you.
Next, examine how you can develop a relationship with each of your children. There are only three ways to develop a relationship with another person: work with them, talk with them, or play with them. As long as both people are willing to work on the relationship, then it will develop out of these activities. The danger of our day and age is that we want to remove the crucial common word from these activities -- the word "with." The family is perfectly designed to accomplish relationship building unless we try and get too interested in efficiency or accomplishing tasks. If we are too interested in getting everything done quickly, then we will assign everyone tasks to do alone, but that will not develop relationships. I can remember helping my dad with chores and vacuuming with my mom. I can remember playing catch with my dad, going boating with my dad, and talking with my sister about everything. We were and still are very close as a family. What are some "with" activities that need to be initiated in the family? Are there some chores or things that you typically do by yourself that you can do with your children? How can you rearrange your thinking to build in the idea of "with"? How can you insert play into the interactions you have with your kids?
Another thing parents can do is to identify ways to adjust their own lives in order to be available to influence their kids. Since relationships require developing one of these same "with" ideas, it is important that mom and dad realize that they may need to lower the time spent on other relationships to increase the "with" time in their family relationships. If a certain relationship is struggling, then the "with" time with that person needs to be increased. There was a time when one of my daughters was struggling in school (not her fault, but the school did not fit her) and I decided that she would join me as I did my job and she could be car schooled for a time. It was a powerful time of relationship building and finding what fit for my precious daughter. I also remember that as my daughters got older and into their teen years, they only wanted to talk with their dad late at night, usually between 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. Knowing this, I rearranged my schedule so I would be awake and alert to have those late-night conversations when they were ready to talk. Do you have any priorities or other relationships in your life that take time away from your family members? How can you adjust your time or schedule to build better relationship with your kids? Is there a particular child that needs more of your time at the moment?
When it comes to raising our children, we must remember the goal in everything we do should be forming a great relationship with them, not just completing lots of tasks and not just making sure they get where they need to go or do what they need to do. We all need the depth of our family relationships when the various storms of life hit us, and our children need our positive influence so they can have their best possible life. It's crucial that parents get this!
I have much more to cover on this topic, so next week I will lay out some ideas that have proven to build great families when applied. I hope you find this helpful for learning how to build great relationships with your kids, and I encourage you to forward it on to other parents who would benefit from this series. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know how you are doing and how God is working in and through your life.
In His service,
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