***See the all the tips from the Fantastic Family Series here.***
Do you want to have a closer relationship with your kids?
Do you want them to confide in you? Open up? Share their feelings, fears, hopes and dreams? Tell you who their friends are and what they're struggling with? Whether they've been offered drugs or had sex?
Of course that's what we want? But how? That's the hard part.
How do you get your kids to divulge? To come to you before they go to their friends?
Today we're going to talk about one simple technique that will bond your kids to you better than anything else.
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We talked about the importance of discussing each child individually during that session, and how it's the basis of all mentoring you will and should be doing with your children.
So today we're discussing the next crucial puzzle piece -- we'll call them the P.C.C.s -- Parent/Child Conversations.
After mom and dad discuss each child in detail, it's time for mom and dad to have a one-on-one conversation with each child.
You may be quick to dismiss this, but I'll tell you from personal experience, THESE CONVERSATIONS ARE INCREDIBLY POWERFUL!!
Since implementing them in our family, we have been blown away at how effective they are. Not only effective, but desirable. Our kids LOVE them. They can't wait until it's they're turn. They compete to see who goes first and are bitterly disappointed if we miss them.
And most importantly, they open up. They share. They bare their heart and souls. It's their time to have us all to themselves, full attention, to talk about whatever they want.
This is the place where we've had 'the talk' about puberty and sex. We've discussed insecurities, fears, friends, weaknesses, strengths, where they're doing great and where they can improve. It's a special, sacred time to really connect and discuss topics that might otherwise be touchy subjects.
When does it happen and what does it look like?
1. Ideally, meet once per week
For our family of six, we switch off -- boys one week, girls the next -- so the kids are getting interviews at least every other week... unless they BEG and plead to have their interview this week too! Please! Please! It happens.
2. Keep it sacred
The most important thing is to maintain a good feeling during these conversations. This isn't a time to criticize, complain or nag. It needs to be a 'safe space' so that your children feel they can open up to you. Make it a wonderful bonding time (which will happen naturally with just one-on-one focused attention), and your kids will beg for more.
3. Talk about them
Ask them what they want to discuss, if they have any questions, how they feel about life, their friends, their school work. It's not a formal interview process, it's a conversation, so let it flow naturally. And listen. Try to really understand how they're feeling.
4. Discuss areas of improvement or focus
While the conversation should maintain a good feeling, there is still a place to discuss areas of improvement. In fact, this is the best setting to do it. It will have a far more powerful effect to talk about being nicer to your brother during a conversation where you've been sharing and bonding, then during the heat of the moment when everyone is in an unpleasant mood.
You can cover where they've been weak or struggling, how to improve, and offer challenges or things to focus on during the coming week (with an accountability check up at the next meeting.)
5. Be consistent
While you may be surprised at what will result from just one conversation together, the real power will come from holding them consistently. You'll provide a place where your children know they can talk to you -- a place where they can safely open up and share their thoughts, feelings and concerns. Can you imagine how powerful this can be for protecting your kids from porn, drugs and sex? Even more basic, it can help to prevent sibling rivalry and 'generational gaps' by keeping you in touch with each other.
Starting with older children
In a perfect world, you would start having these conversations when your children are young. But if they're already teens, or they're resistant to the idea, is it too late? Of course not, you may just need to take a more subtle approach.
Take them out for a 'date', to eat at a restaurant, or for ice cream. Make the conversation very casual, and don't expect a whole lot during the first experience. But be consistent. Keep at it, and overtime you'll see incredible results.
This simple practice of regular P.C.C.s (Parent/Child Conversations) is incredibly powerful for creating a Fantastic Family. We encourage you to begin implementing it this week.
Do you have any questions or comments? We want to hear from you?
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