Connecting with our children takes effort and dedication. Hopefully, you’re already using my 10-20-10 formula to provide daily validation for your children. (See my blog of Oct. 12, 2014.)
The next step is a Three Phase Intervention. Use this to help connect with your child. The Three Phase Intervention consists of reflect, relate, and regulate.
Reflect: How am I feeling right now? It is not OK for a parent to say to a child "Tell me how you feel” unless the parent has examined his or her own feelings. When you connect to yourself, you can communicate in a secure way.
Relate: While you’re breathing say “I feel ________ right now, and I need to know how you feel.” The child may not know, so give him or her words for what you sense they are feeling. “You look (angry/sad/scared). Are you feeling ___________?” Then say “Tell me more, I want to hear about it.” “Tell me louder.”
Regulate: Remain emotionally regulated (calm, in control of your own feelings) and accept all the feelings your child can give you. Your calm, regulated state will help your child become regulated and move into a positive relationship with you.
Take time each day to count your blessings with your child. Together, you will become mindful of all the details God takes care of and you will be blessed with abundance.
Ken Thom, MS, LPC is a nationally recognized Christian counselor and writer. He is available for parent and individual coaching. Ken is a Post Institute Certified Family Regulatory Therapist, Certified Coach and Great Behavior Breakdown Instructor as well as a certified BCI parent trainer. Ken's book Christian Parent Wisdom is a daily scripture based medication book for parenting children with challenging behaviors. Contact Ken.