I noticed this week that my kids were going around just about everything I said, especially one child. They want to do things their way. I get it. I like to do everything my way, but that rarely works in a family situation. Connecting with your kids works much better.
When you want your way all the time, it often treads on the other people who have to live with you. And we all know it’s our job as parents to teach our kids how to live with others – as a team and with affection.
So, I intentionally planned a connection day to reset our hearts and minds.
This “reconnection day” is a day that I’ll mark on the book of memories for one of the best days of my life as a mom. We went to our co-op. We went to the park because it was an exceptionally warm day. We played with science kits. We laughed. We even cooked dinner and cleaned the kitchen as a family. I was floored that my kids were so engaged in the duty of home.
I went to bed thinking, “This is going to be a great year. I have them all on my side. Our connection is working.”
I truly believe that almost perfect day was the result of connecting with my kids in a way that mattered to them. We played. We laughed. We worked together.
When Routine Breaks the Connection
Then, we woke up the next morning. And one of my kids was broken.
This particular child likes to be out and about. She likes to have things her way. She doesn’t like to sit down to the business of school work. She doesn’t like anything that’s “not fun.” She doesn’t like mornings.
Well, I gave her some space to wake up and get the day started, but she was ready for a battle. She was not feeling connected to anyone, especially me. And when that connection breaks, our entire family can break.
I’m sure you have one of those special people in your home – the one who can take over the peace and mental energy of everyone in their path.
Personality Clashes Can Break Connections
I got very frustrated with this child because I’m a “let’s get this done and get on with our day” kind of person. She is not. When she’s knotted up with frustration, she doesn’t work through it; she needs to be coached.
I’m not always willing to coach. I’d rather demand and push and get on with the day!
So, we had the talk about “if you don’t do this, then you don’t do that.” She relented a little and did some of her work. (I wasn’t totally prepared for the week, but I needed her to hit the basics.)
Lack of Connection Steals My Peace
We have a mother’s helper come a couple afternoons per week and and I used this time to go work on putting away laundry and Christmas stuff. I was in this child’s room and just felt perplexed.
I felt like I wasn’t reaching her heart. I pondered it and posted on Facebook about it. I got a couple of responses, but not the answer I was looking for. I prayed about it. I still didn’t feel peaceful.
The connection between our hearts was not working. She didn’t see my desire to help her succeed and I didn’t see her frustration with getting back into a routine.
How We Rebuilt Our Connection Over School
When my connection with my daughter broke over schoolwork, I had to own my part of the break and help her see her error too. I can get a little too caught up in “I have three kids to teach and two of them depend on me for everything.” That’s a really hard balance, and sometimes it just doesn’t balance. However, she did have some ownership in this too. She knows she’s supposed to show up for school with a good attitude. So, here’s what we did in this situation. For context, this conversation happened the night of our conflict.
I set out my expectation for her to own her own education. It’s not mine to force on her. However, it is mine to direct. I told her that she may not always like everything, but she would learn something she could use in her life. I also told her that her consequences would be “lost fun” for the day when she showed up with a bad attitude.
I set out my expectations for the rest of her school year. She’s got some frustrations with learning that we’re trying to overcome, and I told her that the only way that is going to happen is to practice. I told her I’d be more proactive in sitting with her and reading with her.
We started simple with two main subjects – math and reading. We actually read an entire book together in two days. This hasn’t happened in a very long time. It made me fall in love with homeschooling her again.
We made a plan for a fresh start next week. Sometimes getting back into a routine after a break is rough. It takes patience and persistence. We agreed that we’d add a few more subjects as we eased back to our normal schedule.
We spent some time chatting about some things on her heart. This always brings that connection back full circle.
A Simple Plan for Reconnecting When the Connection With Your Child Breaks
When you feel like things are breaking with your kids, I recommend connecting with your kids. This six-step plan will help you iron things out and bring the joy back to being a mom.
Connect with yourself on what the problem really is. Pray about it. Seek wise counsel. My favorite way to do this is to reference the regular list of needs I make for my family. (I make a chart of “What This Child Needs” and “What Actions I Need to Take”.)
Decide on a few points to address with your child. This obviously depends on the age of the child, but getting 2-5 points in your head can bring clarity to the conversation.
Start with connection and one-on-one time. When I sense the connection is broken with one of my kids, I pull them into the kitchen or stay up late with my big kid.
Lay out your expectations. Our kids love to know where they stand. Boundaries and guard rails help them make sense of this crazy world.
Give your child space to process and respond. This is probably my favorite part of being a mom – I love to hear how they set goals and expectations for themselves. I love to see and track the growth that comes from processing and connection.
Track your progress. That chart I mentioned before? That’s a great place to keep up with what’s working with your kids and what needs work.
You can download your free template here.
What do you do to connect with your kids? Tell us about it in the comments.