In the moments after giving birth to my first son, I wasn’t thinking about what I should or should not do. I was simply loving my son. I was holding him, kissing him, telling him I loved him, soothing him, making sure he was warm, soaking in every little detail of his being.
In my first few moments of being a parent, I was connecting.
As my son grew older, I started thinking more about my “job” as a parent. I began to think less about connecting and more about what I “should” be doing.
How many naps should he be taking?
Should he be constantly rocked to sleep?
What should he be eating at this stage?
Should I be offering more stimulation?
Should, should, should…
It was easy to get overwhelmed by all the “should do” questions and, at times, I forgot to put “connection” on my priority list.
The lack of connection manifested itself in feelings of frustration, isolation, resentment, anger, sadness… from me as well as my son. The symptoms showed differently at different times but often when I analysed a difficulty I was having at home, it would all come back to connection.
Fast forward to now.
Nearly eight years into my parenting journey, I know from experience that there is a balance between asking the practical sorts of parenting questions and following your natural parenting instincts… to simply love your child.
Parenting is as much a relationship as it is a role. You have to care for the physical needs of your child, of course, but you also have to be there emotionally. And this second part is often a lot trickier than the first.
That is why I love the advice of Rebecca Eanes. If you don’t know her yet, let me introduce you.
**Affiliate links included in this post
Rebecca Eanes is the creator of www.positive-parents.org and author of The Newbie’s Guide to Positive Parenting. In her new book, Positive Parenting: An Essential Guide, Rebecca shares her hard-won insights on giving up the conventional parenting paradigm to reconnect heart to heart with her children. Because parenting is about so much more than discipline, Rebecca hits on important topics less spoken about, making this more than a parenting book. It’s a book about building lasting family bonds and reclaiming joy in parenting.
I am a huge fan of Rebecca’s work (you have probably seen me sharing tons of her posts on my Facebook page) and I am excited to share some of her wonderful advice here on the blog today.
Why is connection so important?
Connection is important for our children because it provides safety, security, and belonging. It helps them grow confident and has a positive impact on brain growth and overall development.
For parents, it’s important because when we are connected at the heart, we have more true authority and influence. It makes parenting easier because children are more cooperative and trusting of the adults they are connected to.
How do you start connecting with your kids?
Start by being an encourager. We tend to be very critical, correcting as much or more than we encourage. Convey the message that you are on their side, believe in them, and love them without condition. Speak life. See their light and reflect it back to them. Point out the good you see, and be a good listener.
What is one strategy you share with parents to help them reconnect?
Start with at least 10 minutes of “special time” with each child at bedtime. This is time spent one on one, chatting, listening to their hopes and fears, and offering back rubs and words of affirmation. This special time helps them to release any negative feelings that built up through the day and sends them to sleep feeling valued.
Thanks Rebecca for taking the time to visit Moments A Day and remind us about the importance of putting connection as the #1 priority in the parent-child relationship.
How to Start Connecting with Your Kids
Here is a bit more about Rebecca’s new book which I highly recommend! It is a breath of fresh air to weary parents and a true reminder of what is most important in family life:
In Positive Parenting: An Essential Guide, Rebecca Eanes shares her hard-won wisdom for overcoming limiting thought patterns and recognizing emotional triggers, as well as advice for connecting with kids at each stage, from infancy to adolescence. This heartfelt, insightful advice comes not from an “expert,” but from a learning, evolving parent. Filled with practical, solution-oriented advice, this is an empowering guide for any parent who longs to end the yelling, power struggles, and downward spiral of acting out, punishment, resentment, and shame–and instead foster an emotional connection that helps kids learn self-discipline, feel confident, and create lasting, loving bonds.
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I was sent a copy of Positive Parenting: An Essential Guide to review for this post. Affiliate links are included. All opinions are my own. To read more about advertisement on my website, visit this page.