When was the last time you sat and listened to your child? How focused were you on your child? What did you learn from her?
My oldest daughter, Paige, is a very quality time teenager. I have noticed with Paige that in a group, or even when her sister is around, Paige is rather quiet and withdrawn. However, when it is just Paige and me, she can talk nonstop. She will tell me things, ask me to pray for things, and share things I know she does not share with others.
One thing I have noticed recently is the amount of time people spend on electronic devices. I am concerned when I see parents spending more time on their cell phones, texting, or checking their email at dinner than talking with their children. I have had times that I wanted to go say to someone, “You will have plenty of time to check your email when your daughter is grown. If you don’t listen to her now, she will not talk to you when she is grown.”
Chapman and Campbell state that the most important factor in quality time is not the event itself, but that you and your child are dong something together. Paige and I have daddy/daughter dates. I take her to her favorite restaurant and treat her like I did her mother when we were dating. I want her to learn how she should be dated (when that starts in about 20 years).
Here are some more tips for awesome quality time:
1. Turn off the television
2. Silence your cell phone and other electronic devices
3. Maintain eye contact with your child
4. Do not force your child to share personal information
5. Share things with your child that will create a special bond
6. Keep things your child shares with you confidential
7. Engage in positive conversation; do not use this time with your child to correct and point out negative behaviors
A personal challenge to the men: men tend to be “fixers”—we want to fix every problem. Sometimes your child may share something with you that you feel needs to be fixed. Be careful! If you begin to fix things that you child does not want you to fix, she may stop telling you things. Learn to listen and carefully decide when to act and when to simply listen.
Got to go! My daughter is wanting to talk!