Dr. Larry Taylor, Head of School
Children are undeniably amazing and often amusing. I love hearing stories parents share about their children– including this one. Little 26-month-old Aalina was frustrated because she couldn’t go to school with her five-year-old brother Logan. Dressed head to toe in pink Aalina went to her room and packed all her favorite things in her “Frozen” suitcase.
“I am going to live with Gramma and Grampa in the iPad,” Aalina said, handing the iPad to her mother.
After a good laugh her mom explained that Gramma and Grampa were not really in the iPad, but Aalina could visit with them using Skype.
Understanding a child’s personality and conversing with the child interactively influences how the child perceives the depth of emotional closeness. Children learn through what they see, hear and experience. We train our children intentionally and unintentionally by our words and actions.
Did you know the emotional closeness you share with your child helps transmit your core values to them? The emotional transmission that takes place is the primary key to passing on your faith to your children. Children who feel emotionally close to their parents are positively impacted in adolescent spiritual practices, according to Regenerus and Burdette’s research on religious change and family dynamics. Regenerus and Burdette claim a lack of religious congruence may correlate to a variety of poor relationship outcomes and vice versa.
Communication is certainly not the only factor in building a close relationship, but it is one of the most important links to closeness. The primary thing to remember is that communication needs to go both ways. One-way talking is pretty typical in most parent-child dialogues, but it is not the best way to ensure your children will value your input, beliefs and opinions.
Creating dialogue by asking open-ended questions is a practice easily integrated into everyday life. Evening prayer time, family devotionals, mealtimes and just hanging out together are all opportunities to create two-way dialogue.
Talking with our children and not to them is the key point. Many parents are nervous about asking open-ended questions, especially as our children get older, but it is essential.