We live in a day of connections through social media and cell phones. The seal of most conversations is a casual, “love you“, as we head off for the next item on our agenda. It takes more than words to build a strong bond between a parent and a child; it takes time and a whole lot of time. Every child wants and needs plenty of family time (whether he or she is willing to admit it, or not).
Healthy families don’t just spring up overnight; healthy families is a journey which is built year by year, day by day, moment by moment. And the responsibility of making a healthy family lies in the shoulder of the parents. Responsible parents take an ample amount of time to demonstrate their love by sharing, by caring, by playing, by listening and teaching their kids. They focus on their children and make them their priority.
How can you demonstrate the love you feel for your child? By sharing your life with your children. And in this case, life is spelt T-I-M-E. Most parents are mostly tempted to preach to their kids. But what seems good to you may be a boring never-ending lecture to your kids. Parents tend to be the “Know it all” kind of person but we can’t really touch their heart until we go there where they are. That’s why the powerful way for parents to show their love, especially to teenagers, is to listen. Teens often have many things they want to get off their chests, and wise parents invest the time and energy required to listen carefully. Here are a few strategies by which you can improve your listening skills:
A. Be Attentive: Turn off the TV, mute the cell phone, and focus entirely on what your children are saying. Doing this will demonstrate that you honour your children and value them.
B. Be Where They Are: Put yourself in your kid’s shoes and don’t make light of your kid’s problems (even if those problems seem silly to you). Your kid will have lots of troubles and disappointments along the way; it’s inescapable. Don’t just be there, be there.
C. Be Realistic: Your kid may be prone to exaggeration or be overly dramatic at times. But just because your youngster goes off the deep end doesn’t mean that you should go off the deep end, too. So stay calm. After all, you’re the adult here. And while you’re at it, don’t be shocked if your teenager brings big troubles at home. You may have not brought them in your childhood but you can’t react when they do, it’s not your childhood it’s theirs. The Lord has promised to deliver your child—trust His promise.
D. Listen with Your Eyes: Many have said we have to listen with our ears but I say listen with your eyes when it’s about parenting. Sometimes your youngster’s body language speaks even more loudly than his words. So watch your child carefully, and pay careful attention to the things your youngster doesn’t say.
Parental love should be demonstrated with deeds, not just announced with words. It is never enough to pronounce your love, you must also demonstrate your love. You demonstrate your love by giving of yourself and your time. While you’re with your child, be sure to watch carefully and listen with your ears, your eyes, and your heart. And remember: wise parents pay careful attention to the things their children don’t say.