Learning what your kids really need from you will help strengthen your relationship with them.

“Mom! Put down your phone!,” my child yelled.

Oh my…I hadn’t even realized they were trying to talk to me. Day to day life has a way of pulling my attention all over the place, and I had failed to hone the art of connection with my children.

Don’t get me wrong, I have my good, all-in days, but I do find myself escaping the daily chaos by scrolling through my phone, listening to a podcast, or turning on a favorite tv show as background noise while I clean and cook. If I’m not intentional, this becomes my normal.

I don’t believe that any of us mother’s INTEND not to listen to our children. I don’t believe it’s our heart to ever overlook their emotional needs. But it does happen.

Everyday life brings with it so much busyness. Whether our full time job is a SAHM (stay at home mom) and we are managing the house, or our full time job is outside of our homes, two things unite us. One: we are busy! Two: we love our children.

One particular morning taught me a valuable lesson in parenting. My daughter was having a rough morning. There wasn’t anything majorly wrong, but it was one of those days that she was struggling with her emotions. Then an argument happened between my daughter and I, and she lost it. She screamed, cried, and completely came undone. Mean things began to spew from her mouth, and I could tell she felt completely out of control. She felt accused and became incredibly defensive. Her behavior was completely irrational. Truth be told, I cried too. Her words were like little darts, and I felt overwhelmed and helpless in figuring out what to do.

I left her in her room to cool off, and I sat still for a moment. I felt the Lord speak…

“Take her to Wild Roast.”

Wild Roast is a local coffee shop. I knew this must be God because the last thing that I wanted to do with a mean acting child was have alone time and connect.

Yet, that connection was exactly what she needed.

Her walls came down, she felt safe, and she connected with my heart. I didn’t take the time then to correct her actions or tell her she hurt my feelings. I left that for another time. The goal right then was simply to connect. We sat, sipped our drinks, played a game, and chatted about food. Later we were able to have a conversation that was honoring of both parties and allowed apologies and heart change.

Connection is so important for your children’s heart. For my daughter and youngest child, quality time helps their hearts connect with mine. For my oldest, it’s touch; scratching his back or sitting beside him to watch him game means the world to him.

Getting to know that little person with the big personality staring back at you will take a lot of practice. It takes listening and intentional connection. It isn’t wise to lord over them with yelling or controlling phrases. This may seem to produce immediate, submissive results on the outside, but on the inside they will retreat and give up even trying to connect with you. You will lose the opportunity to have a deep relationship with your growing child. Sometimes you will fail hard, and sometimes you will have the most stellar parenting moments. File both away because they will help another mama in your same shoes.

parenting tweens

Take the time to find ways to connect with your child, even if it’s fifteen minutes. What do they love? If you have one that loves to read, a trip to the library or Barnes and Nobles will mean so much. Do you have a teen on your hands? Try a Starbucks trip. Don’t force them to talk or ask intrusive questions. Relationships take time to develop, especially if there has been disconnection. Just be there. Take the time, make the effort, and be there. When they see that you mean it, they will crack open their heart again. Meet them where they are. If all they want to discuss is pizza toppings, be the best darn pizza topping discusser there is!

You got this mama! Take it one step at a time. Work to connect with the heart’s of your children. I promise it will be worth it. Here’s one of my favorite connection tools.

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Rachel is a Postpartum Nurse of 15+ years. She is also a Spinning Babies® CPE, Childbirth Educator, Published Author, and Recipe Creator. Rachel's passion is to encourage and empower women in all things related to motherhood.

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