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Mom out of touch

Feeling Out of Touch in Your Own Home? You’re Not Alone

November 17th, 2017     By Boys Town Contributor

Connecting with Kids, Healing Families, Parent-Child Relationships, Today's Family

The world is so interconnected now that anyone, anywhere can become your immediate friend. People and places that are literally on the other side of the world don't seem quite so distant. They feel close, immediate, even intimate. Yet inside our own homes—the very spaces where intimacy, familiarity, and togetherness should be felt most deeply—there's often a sense of being adrift.

For so many families, the pace of life has sped up so rapidly that parents feel like they've lost touch with their own kids. And it doesn't seem to matter if the kids are 7 or 17.

It's not just the intrusion of social media and smartphones putting distance in our relationships. We also can't or don't keep work at the office anymore. It interrupts dinner. It intrudes on weekends. It even interferes with vacation. Then there are life's other obligations, from caring for our own aging parents to participating in civic responsibilities, which can leave us feeling detached and exhausted.

So, what's a stressed, rushed, and overworked parent to do? 

Get back to the basics. You can do it right now without much hassle, scheduling or inconvenience. Here are a few simple steps to getting more connected with your family.     

Communicate. You can't connect if no one's listening or talking. There are certain times during the day when your kids will be more willing to talk—maybe at bedtime, during mealtime, or in the car. Identify those times and make yourself available to chat with them. Initiate a conversation by asking them about their day or telling them about yours. Ask questions about their favorite activities, and show interest in them. Show that you're present and emotionally connected with them by making eye contact. Tune in to what your children are saying and tune out distractions, especially your own smartphone.

Play. Fun, physical activities can help deepen family connections. Piggyback rides, hide-and-seek, and kickball are fun for little ones, while jogging, hiking, and shooting hoops help engage tweens and teens. Something as simple as dancing can create silly, lighthearted, and memorable moments. And, don't be afraid to pick up the video game controller and get right in the middle of the action with your kids.        

Take them into your world. Kids often have a hard time imagining that Mom or Dad was once a kid, too. Share stories about what you did growing up and the experiences you had with their grandparents, aunts, and uncles. It's a great way for your kids to see that you're a lot more than just a dispenser of cash, food, and clothes.

Even if work demands a lot of your time and attention, don't shut out your kids. Instead, explain what you do at your job and the role you play. Let them visit your office or job site, if possible. And let them tag along sometimes when you do "your thing," whether it's yoga class, a book club, a car show, or just a jaunt to the store.        

Create special time together. Whether you can do it once a day, once a week, or once a month, commit to spending time (15 to 60 minutes) with your kids on a regular basis. Surprise them by announcing "It's special time!" (or whatever clever name you want to call it), and then let them pick an activity. All you should do is follow their lead and provide your undivided attention.

Remember: Like anything else, family relationships must be tended to and nurtured if you want to keep them happy and healthy. The strongest connections aren't forged from a single moment or event, but through the small, everyday interactions with your children. So, make the most of them!  



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