Broken relationships with children hurt! They hurt the kids involved and they hurt you! All you have to do is talk to parents that have grown children who are estranged with them and you can feel their pain. They hurt, they are full of regrets and often they feel helpless!
I have a daughter right now I’m struggling with. She is only 10; her dad says we are TOO much alike. Funny thing is, we don’t see it-we say we are NOTHING alike. I was brainstorming some ways I could better our relationship because I know we don’t want it to continue this way. I am amazed at only a few weeks of doing some of these things I came up with we are better.
We are laughing together more, spending more time together, and both making an effort to work on our shortcomings.
1. I saw a beautiful idea on Raising Arrows about writing in a journal back and forth with your daughter. Let your child pick out the journal and write notes back and forth to one another. Leave it on her bed, in her backpack, or somewhere special to surprise her. You don’t have to write in it every day, just when one of you feels like it. They could be notes of encouragement, saying you’re sorry, or just I love You! I will have a post about this more in depth at a later date.
2. Spend Time– I talked about this in my Strong Willed Series. There is nothing that will help a relationship better than quality time together. I know sometimes it is the hardest thing to do when it is a difficult relationship but trust me on this; it will strengthen it like nothing else!
3. Date Nights/Days– This goes along with time but I would totally encourage you to put aside some special date night with a child you are struggling with. It does not have to be expensive. It can be a walk through the mall, or a trip to the park, an ice cream date or just a drive. Let your child vent to what is bothering them (as long as they are respectful) let them open up to you! It is amazing what their perspective is and sometimes you will find they are not correct in their thinking things such as “you love my brother more than me” or “you don’t love me at all.” You can set them straight on how you really feel.
4. Pray- Pray Hard! In case you missed that- PRAY HARD!! Let your child know you are praying for them and your relationship! Let them know your relationship really matters to you!
5. Set Healthy Boundaries– I know it seems like our children who seem difficult want no part of the word boundaries. However, I find it can be SO easy to let things go by way too easily with a strong-willed child. You get worn down easy and you just don’t want to fight. I do think you should pick your battles but you should establish healthy boundaries. An example would be a child who is totally talking disrespect to you. They use words such as “I hate you” or other harsh words. You need to allow them under no certain terms will you tolerate this talk anymore. You are a family and it is not God-honoring or respectful at all to speak to you that way. A consequence needs to happen and you have to be consistent. I find when I do this my daughter may not like it at first, but she really does want to know where the line is and she wants boundaries in her life. She needs them, we all do!
These are just a few things I have been doing lately and I can’t tell you how much better things are with my daughter. We have a long way to go growing together on this journey but we are making progress. If there is anything worth investing in, it’s your children! We as parents need to grow too and boy do we have SO much to learn! My children have grown me so much!
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