Spending time alone with each of my kids separately is always meaningful to me. Isn’t it amazing how different children can be? They develop their own personalities, likes, dislikes, and styles. Really getting to know your kids and spending time with them individually is incredibly important, no matter their age. When my girls were younger, they each needed something different from me. One needed more one-on-one time and attention. We would schedule nights to read a book together, even into her teenage years. We would go shopping and talk about all things fabulous, like jewelry and makeup.
My other daughter loved watching chick flicks and Breakfast at Tiffany’s together when she was a teen. When she was little, she loved to snuggle up on the couch, watch Blues Clues or Dumbo, and eat snacks together. I even remember her asking if we could watch Dumbo and eat Nutty Bars together while I was on winter break one year! All she needed from me was my physical presence as we snuggled together on the couch. Two totally different kids with two totally different needs.
While I was writing Raising the Well Adjusted Child: A Parent’s Manual, one of my friends recommended that I write a book about raising adult children. I laughed and said, “Nope. I don’t think that’s something I plan on doing.” But as my children have grown into adult women, I realize that we still need each other in many different ways.
I need them in my life to share in the joys of the lives they are developing. I want them to be in my life because I genuinely like who they are as adults. They need me in their lives to guide them when they are encountering adult decisions. When they are struggling with a life situation, I want them to know that I’m here and available to listen or offer advice. They need to know that I’m here when they need love and support, just as I was when they were children.
This type of relationship does not come out of the blue; it is developed and cultivated for years and years. It has to be fostered and nurtured by relationship building between you and your children. It starts at a young age, which is something that I talk about in my book. Building connections and creating a bond with your children is important for them to feel secure and confident. Your kids want to know that you want them in your life and that you love them. They want to come home to a feeling of love and happiness, not criticism and ridicule. They want you to hug them and tell them you are proud of who they have become. Love them at any age and never stop showing it.
What I have learned: Show love and appreciation to your children at every age. You need them, and they need you.
Tania Farran is an educator, mom, business owner, and an author. Her blogs tell about balancing all of these things in life! Laugh or cry with her and maybe learn a thing or two.