Connecting With and Influencing Children

Connecting With and Influencing Children

Make time to be with your kids

In a time of hectic, overbooked schedules, it’s hard sometimes to find the time to give your kids the individual attention they need. You will often find that by spending more one-on-one time with your kids, providing them with your undivided attention even for short windows of time, you and your child will reap the reward of that time investment through better communication, cooperation and interest in family activities. Several ideas you may want to employ include:

  • “Catch Them” at being Good
  • Notice their strengths – such as when they are in a play, a music recital or on the football field
  • Tell them how proud you are of them
  • Show empathy when needed - friendship issues and school pressures sometimes pile up and a few words to acknowledge their challenges helps them cope
  • Express your love for them - let them know you’ll always be there for them no matter what.

Use Teachable Moments - Having a discussion with your kids about steering clear of drugs and alcohol doesn’t have to start with that goal in mind, but as a parent, finding a moment of connectedness is often the way to approach topics that are difficult to talk about. Your conversation doesn’t have to be a long and serious discussion, but perhaps, just a few words that will convey your feelings about substance use. When good, two-way communication is present, your teen’s “guard” will be down because they are focusing on the interaction.

Have fun With Your Kids – Doing things they like will get them involved and give you the opportunity to see them enjoy themselves. “I really enjoy spending time with you and seeing you have such a good time. I hope you always remember that you don’t ever need drugs or alcohol to have a good time.”

Discuss Books or Movies – Books and movies often have a theme where the characters must make choices, or they may involve drug or alcohol use. You might ask your teen “Where do you think this person might end up in life?”

Do Chores Together Regularly - Working together in close proximity often allows for lively chatter to pass the time. This gives you an opportunity to do a little “values clarification.” You might mention a news story about drug use and ask how they feel about the circumstances.

Eat Dinner Together as a Family – Sharing a meal at the end of the day is an ages old tradition that works for a reason. This gathering helps to debrief what’s happened that day and refocus for the next. Even if it’s not every day and even if it’s take-out, dinner matters!

Have Your Child Teach You Something - Finding a strength your teen has (e.g. – searching the Web, fishing, etc.) and allowing them to teach you something they are interested in shows you trust them.

Hang Out – Watch a movie, sports, surf the internet. Sharing interests helps to create a bond between you and provides you time to laugh together and have fun, again allowing them to trust you.