"Connecting with an older child’s heart often takes deliberate actions on the part of the parent." (Click to Tweet)
Connection = Closeness
As parents, we long to connect with our children in meaningful ways. Those connections often provide opportunities to teach because feeling closeness softens the heart. When children are young, those special feelings of closeness happen regularly, even daily. You read a book to your four-year-old, he leans on your arm, and you cherish the time of connection. You correct your six-year-old, and she cries that repentant cry and wants a hug—and tears come to your eyes too, because you know you’ve connected with her heart.
The closeness you and your children feel is a function of the heart. In Acts 4:32 we read the early disciples “were one in heart and mind,” a statement of their unity. The heart is where we build the close relationships that help us to teach our kids in ways that will have a lasting impact. Closeness allows us to work with our children rather than against them as they develop the valuable character qualities they need to succeed in life.
These special moments of heart connection also happen with older children, but, in many families, they come less often. Connecting with an older child’s heart often takes deliberate actions on the part of the parent. Moms and dads need to be watching for opportunities and then take advantage of them when they come.
A fourteen-year-old gets a positive school report, giving her dad an opportunity to affirm her hard work. Her smile confirms he made the heart connection he’d hoped for.
Mom makes herself available when her son gets home in the evening because that’s often the time he likes to talk.
You Never Know When They Might Pop UpBe on the lookout for opportunities to connect with your kids on a heart level, affirming their successes and sympathizing with their hurts. The relationships you build with your children are an essential foundation for helping them to grow. In those moments of closeness you may have opportunities for significant conversations or you may simply want to enjoy the heart connection.
This material comes from the book Parenting is Heart Work