This week’s post is a super simple strategy for tuning in that you can try out immediately. Like right now. It’s fun; it’s easy; and it a superpower:
This game can repair a temporarily broken relationship with your child.
Every now and then I feel like one of my kids drifts away from me a bit. Sometimes it’s because he or she is going through a rough patch and is acting out more than usual. Other times it’s because the others needed more attention during that period. Or maybe it’s because I have been busier than normal and somehow that kid got lost in the shuffle.
Currently, my eldest seems to be more aggressive with his siblings and more defiant toward me. Connecting with him is more of a struggle while connecting with the others comes more easily and more naturally at the moment.
Last month, it was my middle who seemed to constantly be on the edge of a tantrum. I found myself keeping my distance a bit from him, not wanting to set him off.
Our relationships with our kids ebb and flow just like the ones we have with our partners, friends and family members.
But when it comes to our kids, it’s up to US to notice the rift as quickly as we can and make an effort to repair it. That said, it’s not always easy to be the grown up.
When I am in this state, I need a jumpstart for the process of repair.
That’s when I play the “Why I Love You” Game.
It’s pretty simple. Ok, here goes:
- Say to your child, ”Let’s play a game. Let’s take turns saying to the other person why we love each other. I’ll start.”
- Say things that are very specific to your child’s personality. Use sentences that begin with “I love you because … “ or “I love how you …”.Examples:
- “I love you because you laugh at little things that sometimes annoy me at first but then I see you laughing and I realize it is funny.”
- “I love you because get very excited about what you are learning at school and you love to share it with me.”
- “I love how you make up silly songs. They are so funny!”
- “I love you because you try to find ways to help people around you.”
- “I love you because you always give me the biggest warmest hugs before bed.”
- “I love how you build things and you get so involved in your creations.”
Now imagine that you are in one of those difficult periods with your kid when it is harder to think of these positive things. Your rough patch is so rough right now that you can only think of reasons why he or she is driving you crazy. Don’t worry. It is ok. We have all been there at one point or another. It just means you have to look past the provocative behavior and pinpoint the charming ones.
- “I love how after you get very angry about something you always come back to me and find a way to give me a hug.”
- “I love how when you feel overtired or overstimulated you know that you need to find time to be alone and read.”
What are they saying meanwhile? It doesn’t even matter.
They might even surprise you. They might be more perceptive than you think. They might just make your day with the reasons they love you.
Reminding each other of your love can be the first step toward reconciliation or reconnection.
In fact, we should all go around doing this to the people we love ALL THE TIME.
You know why I love you all?
I love you because you take the time to read what is important to me.
I love how you trust me to make music for your family.
And I love you because you share your most precious relationship with me – the one with your babies.
Have a thousand reasons you want to write down before you forget? Comment here with what you’ll tell your child tonight.
Have a friend who’s been in a rift with their child? Forward them this email and let them know sometimes a parent and child are only one game away from reconnecting.