One of the most important values we cultivate as parents is the priority of heart connection
Within seconds after birth as you hold your child in your arms and look into those precious eyes, you know it–this life is completely dependent upon you.
The power of love parents have for their children is a force unmatched. As parents, we have a built in capacity to love and shape the lives we have been entrusted with. We may have the best intentions when they are born to love them to the best of our ability, but unless we spend time cultivating what we value, our best intentions will fall short.
One of the most important values we cultivate as parents is the priority of heart connection.
Our family likes to talk about the priority of relational connection we have with our children using the analogy of a kite string. During the teenage or young adult years, when the kite is flying high, it is important the string of the kite (connection) is in good condition to keep it grounded to the source–you. If the string has been frayed and damaged over the years, it will be difficult to keep the kite connected. We must develop good parenting habits to ensure the storms of life will not disconnect us from our children.
Easier said than done, I know!
In light of this, I thought I’d share a few (5) tips on how to build a heart connection with your child today. I’ve listed them as affirmations or statements we can make as we pursue this kind of a connection.
- I will be a safe place by remaining calm and gentle.
When your child is doing things that might be frustrating, from spilled milk to common struggles with chores or homework, it is important to remain calm. In doing so, you are sending the message that your child does not control your emotional state. This protects them and helps them to feel safe.
- I will send messages of unconditional love.
It is so important to discover what makes your child feel loved. It might be playing their favorite game, giving them specific words of encouragement, telling them what you love about them, or even doing a project like yard work together. Whatever it is, find the ways your child receives love the best, and send those messages of love regularly.
Never let, “I love you” be a secret.
- I will not remove my affection when you make a mistake.
When you feel angry at your child’s mistake, a first response is often to remove affection as a form of punishment. Loving connection is strengthened when you stand with your child in the middle of a “mess”, letting him/her know you will help them “clean it up.” If your child feels your judgment and removal of affection instead of sympathy, they may become angry, making you the enemy. The goal is to help your child figure out how to resolve the problem, knowing you are a strong ally.
- I will regularly check in and meet your specific needs.
All of us have basic needs in common, but each person has an individualized set of needs that will change regularly. Your child needs to feel seen, accepted and loved in specific ways on a consistent basis. It might be a hug after falling down. It might be talking through emotions after a tough day at school. It is important to ask questions and check in to know what those needs might be so you can meet them.
- I will always be there for you.
You can let your child know you can be counted on by being consistent in the relationship. Finding ways to share common joys and laughter will send the message you are happy to be around them, and will develop positive experiences together.
Unconditional love is the greatest skill to master & we won’t be perfect at it.
The goal isn’t to be PERFECT, but to simply PURSUE the connection!
-by Brittney Serpell, Loving on Purpose Blog.