Our kids are constantly connected with the world. Through the internet and their i-pod touch, they’re connected with friends, school, and quite frankly, millions of people they’ve never met before. And yet the question remains; how connected are they with you? Who is influencing them more about life? You or the rest of humanity? I’m going to go out on a limb and bet that they have a lot more one on one time on-line than they do with you. Our kids are desperate to connect with us, but when we fail to accomplish that, they likely go right back to the one thing they find it easy to connect with; the WiFi.
Complicating things even further, is that when you have more than one child, so much of their time is spent competing for your attention. This is especially true when you’re a single parent juggling life along with the kids. There’s no way to grab just one of the kids and run to Home Depot together. If one goes, they all have to go. And so, my ex-wife and I try to work it out once in a while so that when one of us has all three kids the other takes one of them to ensure they get some quality one on one time with each of us. It may be something as simple as a quick lunch, a pedi (usually my ex handles those), or just hangin’ at the other’s house for the day sibling free.
And even if you only have one child, their time is often spent competing for your attention with work, housework, chores, or errands. Don’t underestimate the value of blowing off the world once in a while and giving your kid(s) 100% of your attention. Don’t think it doesn’t have a profound affect on them that lasts well past the time you spend with them. They simply need to feel important to you and valued.
Let’s face it, it’s not easy some times. Especially when you’re not used to dropping everything to get a lesson in Minecraft from an eight-year-old. Just keep in mind, the foundation you build today with your kids will likely affect how they react to you and the world five to ten years from now. As usual it’s about being aware and stopping every once in a while to take it all in and enjoy them while you can. It may also mean swallowing your pride from time to time to work it out with your ex. Just consider the big picture and what’s best for everyone involved.
I promise you two things: One; the pros blow away the cons. The kids benefit, you benefit, your ex benefits. It’s a classic win/win and gets easier the more you do it as do transitions, disciplining and life in general. And two; you will catch yourself more than once stopping and recognizing that the memories you just created will become your family’s most prized possessions down the road. And each of those memories will act as one more connection no one can take away from you.