Friday, June 24, 2011

Overcoming Challenges to Connection

Sneak Peek Friday

I am honored to have worked on the Academy of Coaching Parents International's HeartWise book called Parenting Responsively for Connection. I, along with 10 other ACPI Certified Parent and Family Coaches, wrote the book to help parents answer some difficult parenting issues. Every Friday this summer YOUR Parenting Question Blog will share a short excerpt from this book. We hope that you find them information and helpful. If you like what you read and you would like to order the E-book you may do so here at Strong Roots Family Coaching.

Overcoming Roadblocks and Challenges to Connection

Meeting your child’s need for connection will often result in a happier, more confident, and more cooperative child. What if, however, your efforts at connecting with your child do not go so smoothly? Let’s explore some of the possible roadblocks to connecting with your child and how to overcome these challenges. In doing so you'll likely discover that part of the beauty of connection is its flexibility and that a heartfelt desire can overcome any connection obstacle.

Roadblocks and Challenges:

Problem: “I work 10 hours a day and by the time I get home, I need to get supper organized and get my daughter to bed. Furthermore, I am exhausted. I don’t seem to have the time or energy to connect with my child during the week.”

Connection Strategy: Remember, even just a little more connection time can go a long way. Busy parents may have to get more creative, but improving one’s connection with their child can be accomplished by anyone. Can you connect with your child during the day, even if only for a few minutes by phone? Can you allow her to help you prepare dinner thereby creating a daily opportunity for connection? Can you give her some connection time during the car-ride home by genuinely listening to her discuss her day and telling her how much you love and appreciate her? Can you give her a great big hug and kiss when you first enter the house, before you begin your chores? Can you spend 10 minutes before she goes to sleep cuddling her and reading a story together? Can you make the most of the time you have together on the weekends? And most importantly, can you commit to improving your own state of balance and personal connection? Even just 10 minutes of personal time a day spent on nourishing your body, mind and soul can make a difference and will give you the energy you need to connect with those you love most.

Problem: “I wasn’t raised this way. I’m not comfortable with this level of intimacy with my child.”

Connection Strategy: Start with what’s easy and practice connection. Perhaps verbal displays of connection are more comfortable for you right now then physical expressions. Maybe a walk in the forest with your child will feel more natural then roughhousing. Slowly expand your comfort zone and take the risk to explore the depths of connection, knowing that it will feel more natural the more you do it. Initially, you may want to be quite meticulous about making plans for connection, with specific ideas, times and activities. Once connection feels more natural, you can be more spontaneous. If you find yourself reverting to old patterns of relating, don’t beat yourself up; just acknowledge it and move forward. Open your heart to the idea of becoming more connected to your child. You will be glad you did.

Problem: “My child is older and because this information is new to me, I haven’t been parenting him in this way. We don’t have a great bond and he resists connection time with me. What should I do?”

Connection Strategy: Start off slowly. Be open with him about your desire to improve your relationship. Explain that when he was younger, you didn’t know the things you know now. Ask him to give you a chance to try to make your relationship better. Tell him how much you love him and how you want to be closer to him. Tell him how important he is to you. Ask him what he thinks about what you are saying and listen without judgment. Talk to him about what his passions and interests are and join him in those. Be patient with him and trust that in time, he will not only accept, but also come to love the new relationship he has with you.

Now that you have some connection strategies to overcome the challenges you may face in connecting with your child, you’re ready to get started. Remember that when the desire for a deeper, more connected relationship with your child is present, you will find a way to overcome any challenge you find along your path.

Malini Mandal

ACPI Certified Parenting Coach


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