I’m feeling like the biggest issue with my son…. the thing that hurts… the thing that makes me feel that its not all ok, and time is running out, and I need to do better…. is that I feel somewhat disconnected from him. I guess part of it is just him growing up and being independent. But I think that there is a disconnection between us that he feels too… and that makes him unhappy and needy and most probably leads to other issues like random melt downs and not following instructions.
I could go on about how this disconnection came to be…. the issues and struggles we’ve been through, but its late at night and I just want to skip straight to solutions and go to bed. So the following is basically a brainstorm of ways I could reconnect with my son.
-Stopping and watching him play
-Really acknowledging things he says and does, recognising and validating him
-Get down and play his games, empathise and get involved
-Don’t get so wrapped up in my own agenda of wanting to connect that I miss him altogether. Eg- asking him questions about school when he is completely focused on something else. Meet him where he is at and let him lead. (Use this opportunity for me to practice reading people and social cues!!!)
-Model taking turns at being the leader, by taking turns with him at doing together-activities of his choosing and together activities of my choosing.
-Be waiting and ready for his attempts at initiating connection and (whenever possible) grab those opportunities with both hands. Whatever I’m doing can probably wait 5 minutes. So put it on hold. This is more important.
-Remember to turn difficulties into teachable moments. Even if its just modelling how to stay calm and exercise self control. Keep reminding myself that I am teaching him this. This is an opportunity, and I am using this opportunity to teach him.
I would like to add more, but getting enough sleep, so that I am able to be patient and calm should probably also b on the list!