There just aren't enough hours in the day to go through everything that we want to get done. I wish I had a magic wand to grant us all more time or less stuff to do. We are all struggling to keep our priorities straight, especially when it comes to our children.
We want our children to have the happiest, healthiest, most successful lives.
To give them that, we have to provide both the tangible and non-tangible needs. How do we give them what they need physically (food, clothes, a clean home...etc.) without working like dogs or being blamed for not spending enough time with them?
And if we have to work so hard to provide for our children, then when do we spend time with them, give them the memories, laughter, exploration, and enjoy our family time together that is so important to their emotional development?
There just aren't enough hours in the day to get it all done. Something's got to give!
Luckily, it is not the amount of time that is important when it comes to spending time with children. It doesn't matter at all if you spend 5 minutes or a whole day together. What matters is the quality of this time and it is VERY important that this quality time happens.
What I mean by quality time is giving them your full attention, doing something interactive, and/or talking about something that builds a bond between you.
The goal of spending this quality time is to build a strong communication channel and enough trust to keep the relationship strong when you need it.
It can be as small as reading a story together or as big as a family vacation.
Preparing a meal, playing a board game, going on a walk or bike ride, playing together at the park/pool/beach are all examples of activities that would invite quality time.
So these silly experiences should be given "high priority" status in a busy day with very little time to spare?
Yes. These activities are the foundation of effective discipline and guidance.
Sure, there is the fun and joy of the moment when you are spending time together. There are also the lasting memories and funny stories. But "cushioning" against relationship friction is really what this post is all about.
Children will grow and will go through developmental phases when they want to rebel or practice their independence.
These are the same times when you will want to protect them a little bit more.
Between their need to break free and your need to protect them is friction that could chip away at your relationship.
The stronger your relationship is and the more trust you both have for each other, the more effective these conversations will be, and the more successful your child's development will evolve without breaking your relationship.
In the end, you will want to protect and guide your children regardless of your relationship level with them. Children will also grow with or without a strong relationship with you. The difference is one of effectiveness.
How effective do you want your parenting to be?