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February 25, 2015
Parents must maintain a balance as they work with their kids. Firmness, confrontation, and correction in a child’s life are tools that God uses to address heart issues. You won’t get very far, however, by simply telling your children the right thing to do. Remember that a child can only take as much pressure as the relationship can withstand. Those who apply force without relationship end up with angry and rebellious kids. Jesus was a great example of leaving behind the agenda to care for people and connect with their hearts. He rebuked Martha for her busyness and affirmed Mary for just sitting with him (Luke 10:38–42).
Many a tired parent asks, “Why do I want closeness with my child anyway?” Distance from children can even seem welcome sometimes. Some parents are frustrated with their role and eager for relief. One mom even believed distance was healthy said, “Aren’t teens supposed to hate their parents to prepare them for the upcoming separation and independence they need?”
This kind of attitude hinders a parent’s effectiveness. Teenagers may reject closeness with parents sometimes, but adolescence is when they need the relationship the most. New values, decisions, and difficult choices require wisdom that the teen doesn’t have yet. Young people need insight and guidance that parents can give them.
Emotionally connecting with your children isn’t just so you can all feel good. Connecting with your son or daughter emotionally softens hearts and prepares the way for much of the teaching that needs to take place, making it more effective and even enjoyable. Furthermore, it’s through relationship that values are passed. Relationship encourages kids to think twice about rebellion, and often encourages slowing down to listen and appreciate where Mom or Dad is coming from.
Building relationship can be tough, but look for opportunities to affirm and appreciate your child. Take time to listen and enjoy a child’s world and perspective, even if it’s very different from yours. Valuing your child for his or her uniqueness goes a long way toward connecting with your child’s heart and building a closer relationship.
Relationship will win in the end. It may take time, and some planning on your part, but don’t let the busyness of life rob you and your child of developing a close relationship.
For more ideas on developing building closeness and connecting with your child’s heart, consider the book Parenting is Heart Work by Dr Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN.