Sam and Tara contacted us about their 20 year old daughter, Nicole. They were broken-hearted, wounded, desperate and exhausted.
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In their first coaching session they introduced their plight. “Our daughter is an adult in the eyes of society, yet she is making very poor decisions, living at home, not holding up her end of the bargain; she wants nothing to do with us unless she wants something from us.”
Then, like almost all parents in this sort of situation, they asked, “What should we do?”
For parents of “extended adolescents,” this is a particularly desperate question. It’s natural to dig for simple answers when we feel overwhelmed and hopeless. But before deciding “What to do?” we’ve found it profoundly helpful to ask another question first, “What’s going on – in me, and in my son/daughter?”
At Connected Families, we get really excited about sharing our stories and the stories of the parents we meet.
Whenever we publish a tip, we think, “Now THIS one they’re going to love!” But sometimes the tips that go viral are not the ones we expect, and sometimes some of our personal favorites remain low on the traffic list. Today, we’d like to shine a spotlight on a few of our favorites that haven’t gone viral. But we love them anyway.
Have you ever asked your kids what you do to make them feel loved? It’s worth the ask and you might be surprised by their answers. Once they answer, keep working at communicating love so the kids can’t miss it! These five ideas have helped thousands of parents stay connected:
What do kids really need from their parents? After years of working with children, teens and their families, we have reduced the answer to what we think are the three most important things. We’ll highlight them now, and over the next few weeks will give more information about each.
> A Sense of Purpose
Love! – Most kids grow up misunderstanding real love. Instead they often grow up thinking praise and attention for good performance means they are loved. These kids either seek love by performing well, or they will “go along with the crowd” in order to feel cared about or accepted.
On the other hand, kids who know they’re loved no matter what are secure and confident. They are far less inclined to always feel stressed by performance pressures, or behave rebelliously in order to fit in.
A Sense of Purpose! – American children often grow up thinking they are the most important people on earth. Instilling a sense of purpose helps children understand and value the importance of others. Teaching our children to use their talents to benefit others is the best way to instill in them a sense of purpose.
Accountability! – Children need to know and be accountable to rules and expectations. When parents confidently set and hold kids accountable to reasonable, rational, and respectful limits, their children begin to internalize their own sense of right, wrong, and values.
Effective parents work relentlessly to communicate unconditional love to their children, instill in their children a sense of purpose, and lovingly but firmly hold their kids accountable to household rules and expectations.