When I was 11, I went to boarding school, where I found the teachers either boring or scary. That is, until I took up Latin.
I remember our first lesson. The teacher walked and in she was different – lighter and more smiley.
One day she said, “Let’s put Latin aside for today and instead talk about how you’re feeling and how you like this school.”
We couldn’t believe it. Here was a teacher in front of us who actually cared and wanted to connect with us. It was amazing. We had this fantastic, wide-ranging conversation.
After that, we just loved this teacher – and you know what, we would never, ever have misbehaved for her.
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Today, I want to talk about WHY it’s so important to connect with children.
If you’re anything like me, knowing the reason WHY really gives you motivation. Without a good reason, I just think, “Yeah, sounds like a good idea. I should probably get around to it one day.” But if I get a real WHY that’s clear in my head, I’m more inclined to act. So I hope that this article has that effect for you.
Here are five good reasons WHY:
#1 – Children need it!
Children are wired to connect – we all are, in fact. Connection is the antidote to loneliness, existential pain, and the whole conundrum of arriving in this body and existing on this planet.
How do you come to terms with this life, in which we are apparently separate? Through connection.
It’s also been shown that children who don’t get enough connection in the early years can’t play properly. I’ve seen footage of children in orphanages where the care was good but the connection was lacking. It’s really heart-breaking to see the sad, listless state of these children, who have had no one to truly connect with.
When you are connected, as you will know, it brings magic – it brings presence, fulfilment and a sense of meaning to life.
#2 – Easier family life
Within families, connection makes everything flow much more smoothly. It’s the gateway to finding solutions that work for everyone – win-win.
If you’re like many of the parents that I talk to, you might be feeling torn between two opposites: Shall I make my child do what I want, or shall I give way to their wishes, because it’s easier?”
We feel we have to choose – but I believe that’s a false assumption.
Because there’s always the way of heart, which lies between the two opposites. It’s the connected way forward that leads to win-win solutions, where nobody feels that they’ve lost.
In fact you gain something: that connection and a way forward where everybody feels heard and understood.
#3 – Bring out the best in each other
Connecting brings out the best in you, and it brings out the best in your child. When we connect, there’s a new humility there – there’s softness, there’s flexibility. Even if we mess up we can go back and connect.
With my son there was a phase where we often used to have, “What I was really feeling…” conversations. If you’ve polarised and there’s been a conflict, you can go back, connect and repair, by talking about what your real concern was. It’s never too late.
#4 – Connecting is the way forward
If we parent with connection, and make connecting the way to solve problems with our children, we model that connecting is the best way forward when there are difficulties. That’s such a valuable learning to pass on. Our children can then go on and practise this with future partners, friends, colleagues. In fact I see it as having even wider potential than that.
I’m fairly sure that, if you’re reading this, like me you have a vision for a kinder world where people understand each other better. So, what if governments connected more with other governments and with the people that they’re governing? What if institutions and businesses connected more? What if there was more understanding?
I think we have a unique opportunity in the history of mankind to raise a generation of people – future grownups – who understand how much can be achieved through connection and who know that connection is the way to resolve conflicts.
#5 – The relationship is all
When we connect with our children we teach them that the relationship with them is more important than anything else – it’s more important than being right, it’s more important than being on time, it’s more important than whether you or I are good parents or not.
I’d like you to invite you to pause and imagine for a moment how it might have felt for you as a child if your parents had made you feel as if the relationship with you was more important than anything else. How would that have felt?
I can imagine it now – and it brings up warm feelings, as well as a sense of being important, and that things can be worked out together. And I believe this beautiful feeling is also a great foundation for true peace in the family.
If you’re new here and you want a little bit of a leg-up, I have a beautiful audio which you can listen to – Reset Your Relationship with Your Child – which helps you get into a beautiful frame of mind for connecting. Why not download it now and listen to it tonight before you go to sleep?
Solve the Struggle with Your Kids
The 6 Wise Parenting Powers
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