Connecting With My Kids: This Momma’s New Strategy
My boys have always been Momma’s boys but that doesn’t mean connecting with my kids is easy. And as as they get older it seems connecting with my kids in meaningful ways has, sadly, only gotten harder. So, this year, one of my many resolutions is to find new ways of connecting with my kids.
A friend of mine from work turned me onto the 5 Love Languages a few years ago and it’s really stuck with me. If you don’t know the 5 Love Languages, go research it – seriously, it’s life changing. The premise, there are five ways of expressing love: gifts, words of affirmation, acts of service, quality time and touch. Most of us feel love predominantly in one of these five ways and as a result, show love in that same way. But oftentimes, our spouses and kids have their own love language, one that’s different from your own, so they may not feel love in the way you give it…and vice versa leaving both sides confused. But, figure out how to speak your spouse or your child’s love language – voila, all is right in the universe. Or at least closer.
Not sure why it took me this long to figure this one out with my kids, but it did. Seems like now was the perfect time to finally figure out my kids’ love language.
Mission connecting with my kids commence. Step one, have kids take the 5 Love Language quiz. It wasn’t without a bit of struggle to get this done, but finally they both gave in and took the quiz. And the results were eye opening.
First up, #3…turns out, he’s my touch guy. Not sure why I didn’t see it before. He’s my snuggler, my hugger, my sit right next to you (read sit right on top of you) kid which most of the time I love. But touch is the least dominant of my five love languages. Don’t get me wrong, I love to cuddle with the best of them, I know how important it is for our kids, but there are times I desperately want my space and assume others do too. Turns out I probably need to suck it up and be more sensitive to #3 in those moments when he’s is craving my attention in ultra-close proximity.
While touch is his primary language, gifts was right behind. Funny, I would have sworn he was my quality time kid, but I totally see how gifts makes sense too. He’s the one that is constantly asking for stuff when we’re out – doesn’t matter where we are, the grocery store, the department store, the hardware store, the book store, the drug store, the liquor store…he wants something, anything. And I almost always say no, but you should see his delight when I say yes – pure joy. Interesting – what do I do with this new insight? Write it into my resolutions of course…
Connecting with my kids goal #1: lots more cuddles and a few more surprises
Then there’s #2. Apparently he’s my quality time kid. I’ve got to admit, this one was a surprise to me! Truthfully, his entire profile was actually a bit of a surprise to me. But it lends some perspective on a few things…he’s always the one that will jump in the car with me to run to the grocery store or to pick up lunch, or pretty any other errand I may have to run. Light bulb! Sadly, the car is also the spot where I choose to have those difficult conversations – sounds like a tweak in strategy may be required.
Turns out, his second language…touch. Where did these kids come from?!?!?!? I read an article a while back that it should be a parent’s goal to touch their child something like eleven times a day…even those surly teenagers. Ever tried to hug a 17 year old? It’s nearly impossible – but this one will high five me all day. Frankly, I find it totally annoying…but I’m going to keep slapping five. Not just because it counts towards my eleven touches a day, but because #2 apparently needs it more than I realized. Which leads me back to my resolutions…
Connecting with my kids goal #2: keep high-fiving and find ways to spend time with #2
Sounds easy enough, but the reality for this momma – I’m a words of affirmation, acts of service, gifts gal. In other words, my love language is completely opposite of both of my kids! Yikes – no wonder it feels like I’m terrible at connecting with my kids. Here I am writing notes, sending texts, insisting on family dinner and all they really want is a piece of me. Me!
So boys, I’m changing my ways, I’m learning a new language. I’m still going to write those notes and send those texts, it’s just who I am, but 2018 promises to be filled with more hugging, high-fiving and hanging out. And I, for one, can’t wait!