The picture I posted is one of my mother and I a few years before her descent into Alzheimer’s Disease put her beyond my reach. She taught me so much about strengthening her parent-child relationships. Even in the midst of conflict, her love and respect bolstered our relationship. I will always treasure this gift.
By the time you read this blog, Thanksgiving will be over and the Christmas/New Year Holiday will be coming up soon. Hopefully, your Thanksgiving experience was a positive one. We set enormous expectations for our families during the holidays. Many of us have put down stakes in the post-election divide. These factors may have led to some angry discussions at the Thanksgiving Table. Our children take their cues on how to behave when they watch us. Also, our kids may have felt pressure because we required their “best behavior” at these family events. One of the first places where our children learn about conflict is in their family. How can such conflict strengthen parent-child relationships?
Strengthen Parent-Child Relationships Through Dialogue
When you and your child have had a power struggle, take time to talk about what has happened with these guidelines:
- Clarify your expectations and explain how they were not met.
- Allow time for each person to speak without interruption. Set the timer for 3 minutes per person until each person has presented their own side.
- Come to a mutual agreement about how the rules will be followed in the future.
How I Applied This in My Own Life
My four children used to fight over who would ride shotgun in my car. They might yell “shotgun” or run and climb into the front seat. They might wrestle with each other. It was a conflict that could never be resolved and someone always felt cheated. This happened over and over again.
One day when we were all calm, I asked them to come up with a solution that would be fair to everyone. They agreed that they would take turns. Because they each had a voice in the decision, there was less conflict over this issue in the future. This helped everyone practice resolving conflict in a respectful manner.
These adversarial times in our country provide opportunities for us to strengthen parent-child relationships.
Above all remember how precious your children are. Love and respect this gift.
Copyright (c) 2016 by GenParenting
Karen Salzer has over thirty years’ experience as a resource teacher in the Palo Alto public schools. She earned a doctorate in education from Stanford University. Her areas of expertise involve working with culturally diverse students with special needs including autism, emotional disturbances, learning disabilities, and health issues. As a special educator, Ms. Salzer served as a liaison between parents of special needs students and school staff. She guided parents and staff in identifying an appropriate education for each student in the public school setting. Additionally, she aided students and parents in navigating the educational requirements for graduation, test-taking and in finding support services within the community. Through her leadership, Ms. Salzer encouraged collaborative problem-solving between parents and school staff – such as accommodations for test taking, extended time and use of technology. She loves to follow-up with her students when they become adults and to highlight their many successes in education and careers. Ms. Salzer uses these success testimonials to reassure parents of other children and to encourage them to help their children pursue their full potential. Ms. Salzer is the mother of four adult children and helps care for her five grandchildren