I know – it’s the worst thing a mom can admit (well that and admitting that sitting through hours of sporting events really isn’t that fun…) but there have been times in my parenting that I didn’t feel close to one of my kids.
Justen is a bright, smart, funny kid who loves history and can remember license plate numbers from over a dozen years ago. I could not love him any more if I tried.
But when it comes to natural compatibility, we are opposites – and not in a fun way. He has a much easier, more natural relationship with his dad, my ex-husband. They like to watch sports, enjoy the same kind of movies, and feel really comfortable being together.
Justen even really clicks with my husband, Roger, his stepdad.
Yep – nothing makes you feel like more of a doofus than realizing everyone has more in common with your kid than you do.
So I’ve had to spend the last few years working really hard at connecting with Justen – with mixed results – granted – but it’s so much better than it was a year ago.
Here’s what I did:
- I Paid Attention. When Justen mentions something on Facebook and I have no idea what it is, I Google it so that I have a peek into his world. I also try to pass along things that I think will make him laugh. Recently I saw this posted on a friend’s wall and shared it with him and the rest of the Trekkies in the family. I may not watch the show, but I’m learning some of the inside jokes. (If you are not a Trekkie, have one explain this to you…)
- I Prayed. It’s hard for me to remember this one truth: the best thing I can do for my child, whether we are “clicking” or not is to pray for him. I pray for Justen (and all of our other kids) every single day. It has not always been this way, and I tend to kick myself for it. But I remember that great saying, “When is the best time to have planted an oak tree? Fifty years ago. When is the second best time to plant an oak tree? Today.”
- I Talked with Other Parents. Turns out, each and every mom I’ve spoken with will, when pressed, admit that one of their kids is easier to connect with than the others. And that is OK! It doesn’t mean that we love them any less, it just means we have to work a little harder for those connections.
If you’re looking for new and easy ways to connect with your kids, whatever their age, stage or personality, check out my new book 21 Ways to Connect with Your Kids co-written with author Cheri Gregory on sale for only $9.99.
And, while I am announcing new things… I’ve just opened up my new online store. Come on over and take a look, I think you will like it! To say “thank you” for dropping by, I’m offering free shipping on all orders $15 or more.I’ll even sign it for you if you’d like. Come on over to my online store today. (Sale and free shipping on through Friday.)
She and her husband Roger are the parents of four young adults in San Jose, CA. When she’s not dating her husband or hanging out with her puggle Jake, Kathi is speaking at retreats, conferences and women’s events across the US.
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