One – on – one time.
Nothing builds relationships as well as spending time alone with people. Plan to spend some one-on-one time with each family member regularly.
If you have never done it, you will be surprised just how powerful it can be. When you find you are alone with only one of your children, you will have much more patience and can focus better on their conversation. Perhaps one Saturday morning/afternoon per month with each child. Have your children decide what they would like to do with you. Anything (that the budget allows) goes.
Use this time to catch up on where your child is at. Talk about the future, the past and any concerns or frustrations. This is not a time for advice-giving. Just listen and empathize. Give advice only when asked for – especially with teens. Ask them what they think they can do about a problem. You may be pleasantly surprised at the wisdom of your child as you allow him/her to come up with his/her own solutions. Guide their thinking with suggestions not prescriptions.
Try to spend at least a few minutes every day alone with each child. Start with 5 minutes, and try to build it up to 15 – 20 minutes every day. Teenagers need such time with their parents especially. Time without lectures or discipline, to build the relationship stronger. Because of homework and extra curricular activities, you may have less or no time on some days. But do your best to spend some one-on-one time with each child regularly.
Lastly. It is essential that you spend one-on-one time with your spouse every day. Your spouse should be first on the priority list, before the children. Fifteen minutes after work or before bed-time, to chat about the day and where you are at, can make a huge difference in your marriage.
Use this powerful technique to improve all your relationships.
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