Do you really know your child?
We all think we know our kids; after all we live in the same house, we’ve raised them and cared for them. That automatically means we know them, right?
I once heard a story about a pro basketball player who found out one day when talking with a friend (as they sat and watched their kids play) that his son, of course, wanted to play basketball like his dad, but deep down really liked to play baseball better. This friend knew that, but the dad didn’t.
It was an eye-opening moment for the pro basketball player because he had no idea that his son felt that way. It was then that he decided on early retirement because he wanted to be around to really know his kid.
If you would like to deepen your understanding of your child and know him better, these suggestions might start you on your journey:
Learn to ask good questions. Whether it’s in the context of a game or to spur conversation in the car, the right question can tell you a lot. Here’s a list of great questions to cull from.
Pay attention. Are you watching what they read, listen to, watch on TV or Netflix? Do you know what they do with their friends? See how well you know your child by answering these questions.
Let your child choose. Whenever you can, whenever it is feasible and safe and wise, let your child choose… the movie, the food, the event, the music. Their choices will tell you a lot about them.
Sometimes just hang out with them. Yes, I know that kids need structure sometimes. But they get that a lot in sports and at school. Schedule in some unstructured time with them, when you are just sitting around hanging out and watch what unfolds. You don’t always have to be steering the ship.
Eavesdrop. Did I really suggest that? Heck, yeah! I don’t mean this in a creepy, stalker kind of way, but in a subtle, pay-attention kind of way. When your kids have friends over, listen to them while they talk and play, or as they sit and play video games or watch TV. Listen to your kids when they argue in their rooms (and they think Mom and Dad can’t hear) or when they do chores together. But be prepared to control your reaction if you hear something you don’t like!
Enter his world. As much as you can, enter into your child’s domain. Whether it’s sporting events or classroom volunteering–wherever your child’s world is–enter in and get a feel for who he knows and what he faces daily.
Know Your Child: they are people too
We take time to get to know co-workers, friends, clients, and new family members, asking questions and expressing interest in them. But remember, your children are people too. Take time to know them beyond what they eat, when they go to bed, and how they do their chores. That is a huge gift both to your child and to yourself.
Don’t waste another minute! The next season of youth sports is upon you.
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