Relationships - December 14, 2016

This is an image of a young girl working on homework with her mom helping and supervising in the background

Parenting is the most challenging, yet the most crucial and fulfilling endeavor that anyone may undertake. There is no other job on the face of this earth more important than being entrusted with the invaluable life of a child. Think about it. Is there anything more important than raising another human being to become the best that he or she may be? Although the world of parenting comes with many commitments and demands, the wonderful experiences and rewards of childrearing are priceless. To have the opportunity to contribute your positive wisdom, knowledge, values, and morals to the next generation is a major privilege and honor.

The season of parenthood is fleeting, and there is only a small window of opportunity to spend invaluable quality and quantity time in getting to know and understand your child well. Before a child will accept and internalize your wisdom, knowledge, and values, he or she must, however, first truly believe that you genuinely love and care about him or her. In today's world with the abundance of technology and information, there are many outside sources that are vying for your child's attention and influencing his or her thoughts, behaviors, values, and moral foundation. Many of these sources are not positive and may negatively impact your child in ways that are contrary to your family beliefs and values. Unless you want your child's character to be shaped by these outside influences, it is important that you safeguard your child by instilling your morals and values by spending as time daily to connect and build a strong parent/child relationship. The only way to do this is to limit the amount of television and technology time that your child has access to and fill it with positive relationship time. This also requires you to model appropriate use and time spent with technology since children learn by observing adult behavior.

Unfortunately, the natural human need for relationship and connection with others is being substituted with screen time which may be detrimental to the social and emotional well-being of your child and to the human race as a whole. Making time for relationship building with your child a priority does not have to be an expensive, difficult, or arduous task. It can be enjoyable and meaningful to both you and your child when engaging together in activities within your natural environment, e.g. cooking meals and desserts together, having regular family meals, going on walks, riding bikes, reading, playing card, and board games. Most importantly, just having fun and playing together daily for only 20 to 30 minutes will greatly enhance your relationship with your child. As a parent is it important to enter into your child's world of play to allow him or her to feel understood and valued by you. It is through natural play that your child learns to communicate, develop, and relate to the world in which he or she lives. During this important play time with your child, it is imperative that you demonstrate respect for the relationship by not allowing distractions and utilize this time to completely focus on and enjoy spending time with your child. During this play time you need to refrain from teaching, preaching, correcting, and asking questions as this tends to shut down your child's emotions.

As your child increases trust in the relationship with you and begins to enjoy your time and attention, your child will naturally begin to share his or her deepest thoughts, feelings, hopes, dreams, and fears. Listen well with your heart to hear what your child is communicating. This is when you have the opportunity to provide support and validation by expressing empathy and understanding. It is important to be non-judgemental and offer to help him or her to explore possible solutions to any problems that he or she may be experiencing. Spending both quality and quantity time with your child may be the best protective factor that your child may receive to inoculate him or her from the dangers of this world and the best investment of your time ever. It is all about the relationship!

Here are several resources you can access via the web: