Connection is one of the first tools we present because it is foundational to every other tool. No one (parent or child) can be at his or her best until the feeling of connection is established.
Connection is the foundation of encouragement. Connection means letting children know you really care; that you are on their side. Children feel connected to you when they feel listened to, taken seriously, and are respectfully involved in problem solving so they feel a sense of power over their lives. They feel connected when you maintain respect for yourself as well as for them. It is important to say this so that adults don’t misunderstand and think that connection means pampering or giving in to disrespectful demands. Mutual respect is the key.
Try some of these tools for creating a connection with children:
- Listen. Really listen. Stop doing whatever you are doing and give your child your full attention
- Validate Feelings. Don’t we all feel connected when we feel understood?
- Share your feelings when appropriate. Children feel special when you respectfully share something about yourself. Respectfully, means no stories about walking miles in the snow.
- Focus on Solutions WITH children after a cooling off period. There is that word "with" again– because it is a golden bridge to connection.
- Take time for respectful training during calm times.
- Ask Curiosity Questions to help children explore the consequences of their choices instead of imposing consequences on them.
- Spend Special Time with children. What could create a greater connection for your child than to know you enjoy spending time with him or her.