Jun 22, 2012

Take a Step Back in Time - Parenting

In today's economy, fast paced and demanding life, it isn't easy to be an effective adult, let alone a parent. As a single working parent, with a teenager, let me make a few suggestions. Take a step back in time to how things were when WE were growing up.

"Back in MY day," we only had 1 TV in the house, it only received about 15 channels (we didn't have cable), I was the remote to change the channel (by twisting a knob), and had to adjust the aluminum foil covered antenna by hand. Today, we have 500 Channels and Nothing to Watch. My suggestion? Turn off the electronic things, and take them out on the back patio to talk WITH, not AT them. Float an idea and LISTEN to what they say. Set aside the cable/satellite TV, wi-fi laptop, eTablet, and smartphone.

My son and I spent the evening on the back porch while it was breezy, and I asked him a few basic questions that generated a lot of conversations, and we laughed hard TOGETHER. This conversation enabled me to recapture what it means to be "young at heart." Some of the basic questions started with:
  • How did you sleep last night? Have any dreams? (clues you in to what is in their subconscious)
  • What was the best part of today? (lets you know what they enjoyed about this day)
  • What was the hardest part of today? (lets you know what might be "bothering" them)
  • What was the easiest part of today? (lets you know what they might excel at)
  • What was the most enjoyable part of today? (lets you know what sparks happiness)
  • Anything else you want to talk about?
The last one is what tends to generate the most conversation, once you get them talking. And once you do, "please hold on to the bar" because it is going to be an interesting ride. Once I got my son talking, we talked about school, soccer, girls, dating... yeah, that was DEFINITELY an interesting evening in front of the fire bowl.

But I digress... my suggestion is to shut off all of the electronic stuff that clutters your life, and live your own, accompanied by those immediately around you. Toast some marshmallows, make S'mores.

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