A couple weeks ago my wife and I took my teenage daughter to California Pizza for dinner. When we sat down both my wife and I were staring at our Iphones, we were reading, texting on Facebook and Twitter. My daughter on the other hand was trying to share with us what she had done at school that day. When she didn’t get our attention she pulled out her phone and took a picture of my wife and I starring at our phones. She posted it on her Facebook page and in the caption below she wrote something about quality time with mom and dad.
In the Boy Scouts of America Linked In group there was a discussion on how disrespectful the boys can be at Cub Scout pack meetings and leadership event. Some were expressing their opinions and sharing tips for the group. One of the members shared his concerns regarding parents attending the camps with their boys. He complained about their failing to participate with the group. He talked about parents sleeping late, sleeping in the car instead of the tent and even going out to get a pizza so they don’t have to eat what the boys cooked for dinner.
We as parents sometime criticize our schools for seeing are children as numbers and not as human beings. But if we ourselves are not respecting our children by failing to give them our undivided attention when they are talking to us for example then we are no different. If we want our children to be respectful and listen to us, then we need to do the same. If we want our children to know that we care and love them no matter what, then we need to shut off the cellphone, leave the Ipad at home spend some quality time with them.
In the Bully-Free Schools Circle of Support Resource Guide for Trainers, Dee Lindenberger writes that “The experience of caring relationships, characterized by emotional warmth and positive involvement in the child’s life, is essential to develop the capacity for healthy attachment, empathy-social/emotional competence. “
As part of my training to teachers and staff I explain why it is important to connect with your students. I ask them to remember a teacher that mentored or connected with them, a teacher that went the extra mile. Most attendees quickly raise their hand and share the story about the teacher that changed their lives. When I speak to parents I also ask if one of their parents listened and connected to them. Most of the parents in the group fail to raise their hands. Do we want our children to think the same about us? Don’t get me wrong, there have been many stories at the parenting workshops I have facilitated where parents have shared great things about their mom or dad. How they inspired them to do the right thing and always spent quality time with them. Parent that promoted positive self-esteem.
In the book Stick Up For Yourself the authors share, “Positive self-esteem is the single most important psychological skill we can develop in order to thrive in society.”
By spending quality time with our children we are letting them know that we are proud of them for who they are. By spending quality time we are helping promote and support their self-esteem and self-worth. We are helping them build an inner foundation that is based on love, respect and resilience.
Fred Rogers in an interview said that “children need to know they have a home.” I agree. They need to know that that home is also if a place where they can cry, laugh and create memorable moments. A place where quality time is spend.
Copyright Richard Paul 2013