Hi! Here is the last installment of my 3 part series: Present Not Perfect: How Parents Can Equip Their Children to Thrive in Today's Appearance and Performance Obsessed Culture.
So far we have talked about the pressures that children and teens face here in the San Ramon Valley as well as the integral role parents can play in building up their children/teens to encounter these pressures, yet still maintain a solid sense of self via the communication of love for their child/teen for who they are rather than society's measure of worth being found in what they do or how they look. I introduced 2 different ways that parents can play this role, first, through their language and communication during tough conversations around mistakes and also through their support in their child/teen's chosen activities and passions. In this final series blog post, I address yet another way parents can aid in the prevention of their child/teen from buckling under society's pressures, through spending intentional 1:1 time with their child/teen.
Nothing says you matter and are valued for you like setting aside intentional 1:1 time out of your busy schedule for your child. Just like marriages thrive from weekly “date nights,” parent-child relationships benefit from regular 1:1 time between parent and each child. Furthermore, this is another way that you can support your child’s innate strengths/interests because maybe your 1:1 time can be related to these. Here are some practical tips so you and your child can get the most out your 1:1 time.
1. Do your best to avoid screens; I would suggest that you make an agreement that you both will not be on phone/tablet/electronics except in the case of an emergency. That way your child sees that you are committed to holding up your end in this agreement and will be more likely to follow through.
2. Make these 1:1 meetings a regular thing; designating a regular day and time gives your child something to rely on. Although they don’t communicate it well, kids and teens value consistency.
3. Be realistic in setting up the 1:1 time. I know that our schedules are busy, and you want to be able to deliver. It is the quality and consistency of the time rather than the quantity of the time.
4. Give your child some choice in the activity; this can be helpful especially if your son/daughter is having some trouble in buying into the idea. Some kids won’t care, but some will appreciate that you are considering their opinion, and be more willing to follow through on their end.
One last note, understandably, as your child progresses through adolescence, their interest for spending one on one time with you may decrease or you may have to get more creative with your plans, but even telling your adolescent that you would like to spend regular intentional time with them communicates their value to you. So, even if they refuse to agree to spending this intentional time with you or you think there is no way that they would ever be down to spend 1:1 time with you, just communicating your wish and commitment for this to happen still brings about the positive effects.
Thanks for your time and attention, and I hope this blog post series has provided you with some practical applications about how you as parents can support your kids in thriving in the face of the negative messages driven by our appearance and performance obsessed culture. Feel free to scroll down to check out part 1 and 2.