Entering Their World
I've been thinking about this one for awhile.
Like so many things that actually "work" in parenting, this actually happened by accident. My daughter came to me with a request. "ALL" of her friends were reading a particular popular young adult book. She wanted to read it as well. After doing some research, it wasn't "bad" but there were several themes littered throughout the pages that could bring questions. I suggested, "How about we read it together?" I was honest, "I think you are old enough to "handle it" but I want to be able to answer any questions you might have along the way." The next day we bought an e-reader version and off we went.
First of all it turned out to be one of the best books I had read in a long time. Secondly, I had NO IDEA the amount of conversations it would spark with my girl. We talked about our favorite parts, dialogue we loved (and hated), ways we would have written it differently, small themes, larger themes, life and everything in between.
As a matter of fact we talked SO much about the book my husband said one day, "Do we have to talk about this AGAIN?"
It set off a chain reaction of us reading books together. (We may or may not be a little competitive and also try to see who can finish first. I may or may not be winning currently.) You see reading is her "thing." She has other hobbies, but this one is easy to engage in together. Her current bent is all things "Dystopian" so we read the popular and obscure. It's so much fun to talk about so many things. Reading together has created a natural easy way for me to connect with her.
This made me see something I must have forgotten. Sometimes I need to enter into my kids' worlds. When they were little, it was pretty easy. They would tug on my sleeve and ask me to "play." Then they got a little older and got involved in other activities. My kids still wanted me to be a part of their lives, they just weren't tugging on my sleeve and telling me anymore.
Sometimes our kids need us to meet them where they are in their likes. We do it often when our children are young. We watch cartoons, read Dr. Seuss, and tuck them into bed because we want to nurture and care for them. And then there comes the day where they tell us they don't need to be tucked into bed anymore.
Here's the thing. They still do, it's just different.
Instead now I read dystopian literature, watch action movies, and television shows that involve names like"American Ninja Warriors." I'm in the process of learning all about the defensive line of football and the ins and outs of volleyball. I know zombies freak them out but YouTube videos called, "Kid Snippets" make them laugh hysterically. Some of these I would do anyway. Most I could care less about left to my own devices. To ask, learn and care about what they do gets me into their world. At an age when we don't always know how to talk to each other, we are making some conversation starters. Instead of disconnecting, somehow it is bringing us closer.
What do you do to enter into your child's world?