Why is Connecting with My Kids So Hard?

She sat right in the front row. For the first three weeks of our class she had listened wide-eyed and engaged enthusiastically as we talked about the principles of Foundation and Connection. This day was different.

During the class she avoided eye contact and spent much of the time looking at the floor. She never spoke a word. After the class I approached her. “You seemed a bit distant today. Is everything OK?”

The tears formed instantly and were falling by the time she spoke. “For the first time in my life I’ve realized that the reason I have such a hard time connecting with my son is that no one ever really connected with me.”

Earlier we wrote about the struggle most parents face at some time to actually want to connect with their children.

There are many reasons why parents may struggle to connect with their children, but we have found this mom’s words — “no one ever really connected with me” — to be the primary reason for most parents.

Parents are not usually quick to make this confession because it can be so painful. Instead, there is a tendency to scapegoat the child or the difficult behaviors. But time after time, beneath these seemingly superficial problems of how to connect with my child is an intense sense of grief and loss due to the unmet longing for deep, loving connection with our own parents, or at least with someone.

Some parents, like the one in the story above, can readily identify this on their own. Others can come to this place with help. Still others spend a lifetime trying either to compensate for this loss, protect themselves from the pain, or both. Addiction, anger, depression, overachievement, and superficial relationships are some of the symptoms.

Parents who have not experienced connection — don’t lose hope! You can return to your Foundation. You can fight to learn God’s perfect connective love for you. You can find true spiritual friends who will love you with Christ’s love. You can make a priority of discovering and functioning in God’s purposes for you. It’s never too late!

Apply It Now:

  • Think back to your family of origin: How frequently was I told that I was loved? When I was told, did it seem conditional or unconditional? How has this affected my ability to communicate unconditional love?
  • If this is a difficult area for you, consider talking more with a pastor, trusted friend, or therapist. It’s never too late to learn to receive love!

This post is an excerpt from our book, How to Grow a Connected Family.

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