highway 2

Well, I’ve decided to kick off a little discussion about relationships and I hope you continue enjoy the thoughts I present. Thanks to everyone who commented on my previous article. If you missed it, last week I shared about my relationship with my hubby, Rob and some of the dynamics involved in that ever growing relationship. Feel free to jump back and have a read if you’d like {https://www.littlemiracles.com.au/blog/speaking-life/how-golf-helped-my-marriage}

Today, I’d love to open up the conversation about our relationships with our children and how important it is to keep lines of communication open so our children know there is always a soft place to land when life gets hard. Recently, in Australia we had the ‘R U OK’ day and I think that’s a great day to remind us to: 1) STOP 2) LOOK AROUND AT THOSE IN OUR WORLD 3) ASK IF EVERYONE IS OKAY

Perhaps you find it odd to suggest asking your children how they are doing. Some wonder if at the tender ages of our little ones, how could their life be anything but pleasant. Well, can I tell you that according ‘Youth Beyond Blue’ in Australia, 160,000 young people (16-24 years) live with depression and around one in six young people have anxiety. Those are staggering numbers and I don’t share them to scare you, rather to encourage and empower you and to hopefully put some tools in your ‘parenting toolbox’ when it comes to connecting with your children.

Thought Life:

Considering these statistics and although they are referring to 16-24yrs of age I want to encourage you to engage in conversation, with your little ones, about their thought life. Ask questions like:

“What have you been thinking about lately?”
“Are you happy?”
“What makes you feel happy and excited?”
“Is there anything that’s bothering you right now?”
“How’s your heart feeling?”

These are all questions that kids can relate to. They know the feeling of excitement, happiness (the lead up to Christmas or Birthdays, etc.). Additionally, they know that things can bother them…. especially if they have siblings. Asking how their heart is causes them to use descriptive words telling you what’s going on. Be prepared for them to also ask you questions about what you’re asking them… This is all about back and forth dialogue.

All of these conversations lead into the deeper spaces of their little minds and hearts, allowing you the opportunity to really get an understanding of where they are.

As these are big questions and the intent is to help you, as their parent, gain a better understanding of where they are, it’s also just a good habit to get into. Through this, they are being taught to ask themselves that question which will serve them well in their teens and beyond. Perhaps some of us could benefit from asking these internal questions. I know I can!

Creating Time & Space for Conversation:

Parenting requires time and patience (trust me, with 4 children this is something I came to understand and know well). Finding time to listen to your children can be challenging as our days are full of work, activities, home duties and everything else. In saying that, can encourage you to find time to give them your full attention, creating space for what you will soon discover to be incredible converations.

Here are just a few suggestions from my ‘Parenting Toolbox:

The drive home in the car:
I always found this to be a great time of singing, chatting and catching up on all the days activities. Start this whilst they are little and perched up in their carseat/booster and you will reap the benefits now and during the teen years. Important to note, I also found driving their friends around a real bonus as well because the stories I would hear were amazing. I learnt many important things about my children and the friends they had simply by saying nothing, just listening which provided me with valuable nuggets for when we were alone and chatting. This drive time with your children can be some of the most rewarding time you will spend with them. And, you might as well enjoy it because there are many hours on the road ahead 🙂

At Little Miracles we are passionate about teaching our children to read and the bedtime reading routine is often a great opportunity to relax and chat with your little one. After ‘the book of choice’ has been read, simply relax into that space and begin to marvel at the day that’s just gone and the day that lies ahead. Let the unwinding take place and in most cases, you will be surprised at how much they want and are willing to share. Again, creating this space will bode well for these years and the teen years ahead.

Our relationship with our children is so important. I want to encourage you to spend time with them, listening and absorbing what they bring to the conversation. Children want to know they are being heard, that they are safe and that they are secure. As parents, we have the incredible opportunity to show them and to let them feel all of those things.

These are obviously just a few little tips and strategies I have used over the years all in an effort to raise healthy, happy children. Ultimately, building relationship with the children I have been blessed and trusted to raise. As a mother of older children now and with grandbabies I remember those hours with each of my children fondly and I don’t regret a moment spent listening to them and their stories.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this and that perhaps I have provided a few things for your ‘Parenting Toolbox’ that will help you create the relationship you want with your child and the relationship your child wants with you.

Cheering you on all the way…..

Much love,