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15
Jan

Part two Parenting Teens and Tweens: Connection Is More Important Than Rules

Posted on January 15th, 2014

#2 Connection is more important than rules. When they leave the kitchen a mess, don’t clean their rooms, miss the bus, wear attire that’s less than desirable, must have the last word, are sulky, moody or non-talkative, don’t do their chore they way you want, etc, don’t sweat the small stuff. I know that it may not feel like small stuff to you in the moment, but in the realm of what is most important in life it is small potatoes. In the bigger picture it is much more important to stay emotionally connected to them than for you to get your way and get them to follow a rule. It’s not that rules are unimportant. They are. You need, for example, rules for boundaries (they can be angry but no verbal attacks) and rules of engagement (no cell phones at dinner table so we can be present with one another). But do not make the rule an end in itself. It’s a means to an end. The end is that I stay connected to my kids, loving in them like Christ. When I see those dishes they left in the sink, or they are not in the spot where they said they would be for me to pick them up, I can feel the indignation in me rising up. It’s time to pause and remind myself, “Geri,  REMEMBER the most important thing is to stay connected to them, not to be right.” This has helped me innumerable times prevent myself from an unhelpful reaction, and approach them and the problem in a softer way. If you do fail (and you will), then take the initiative and repair it. Many times I have had to approach my kids, humbly and courageously, and say, “Can we revisit that interaction we had? I was wrong in how I approached you.” This opens doors and hearts. As my daughter told me last week, “Kids really want a relationship with their parents.” We have the power to make it happen.

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