Hello, dear conscious parent 💟!
Today I want to bring back to your attention a book that I recommend in all of my talks and sessions: Hold On to Your Kids – Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers, by Gordon Neufeld, Ph.D., and Gabor Mate, M.D. I love each and every word in this book, but Chapter 14 (Collecting Our Children) touched a special place in my heart because I’ve been preaching “connection before correction” for a long time now.
The authors say: “At the very top of our agenda we must place the task of collecting our children – of drawing them under our wing, making them want to belong to us and with us. We can no longer assume, as parents in older days could, that a strong early bond between ourselves and our children will endure for as long as we need it. No matter how great our love or how well intentioned our parenting, under present circumstances we have less margin for error than parents ever had before. We face too much competition. To compensate for the cultural chaos of our times, we need to make a habit of collecting our children daily and repeatedly until they are old enough to function as independent beings.”
Here are 7 habits you can start building today to collect your child; meaning: to invite or restore connection as often as possible:
- Do whatever your child wants at least 10 minutes a day totally uninterrupted and undistracted. Promise not to check your phone, not to worry about cooking, cleaning or work. Give this time a name, such as Special Time, Mommy or Daddy and Me Time, etc. Follow your child’s lead in whatever activity they choose.
- Follow your child’s lead in play. Listen more, talk less.
- Have a morning hugging ritual of few minutes, before you transition into the frenzy of the day.
- Listen to your child’s feelings and frustrations without judgement, interruptions, fixing or justifying yourself.
- Set firm but loving limits. You can hold a limit AND be empathetic at the same time.
- Use your non-verbal cues to communicate love and affection often: eye contact, smiling, gentle touch, hugs, tone of voice.
- Show your child you are on their side when they get in trouble, or find themselves in difficult situations.
These habits are not always easy to put into practice. Start with one and build yourself up from there. You can do this – I know it!