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I need to "reconnect" with my 6 year old

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

In a nutshell, we are brand new to Gentle Discipline in our home. I REALLY regret choices we have made in the past with our children and want to rectify things for a healthy future and family. For instance saying things like "there is no reason to cry" (feeling stuffing..not addressing LO's feeling and helping them work through it) or not working with LOs through temper tantrums. Instead DH and I would get upset and automatically do time out. I don't want to be the parent to blow my kids' feelings off, spank ever (never ever), or not listen to what they have to say.


Because of the way we were doing things....I thought was right at the time (you know because children MUST obey or else you will raise horrible adults... sarcasmgreensad.gif), I feel disconnected with my 6yo. I feel like I know her less and haven't been in tune with how she looks at the world. I love her, listen to her, spend time with her...but I would love to have a closer relationship with her. Things like hugs and kisses sometimes feel like obligations. Gosh she is such a sweet, motherly little kid! It makes me feel sick and sad to think I simply haven't shown her enough physical affection often enough that a hug doesn't always come naturally. 

What can I do at this point to really connect with her? She is only 6! She loves reading, maybe daddy can take care of the younger kids and DD and I can cuddle up to read books tomorrow. Books/ reading might be a good starting point. 

We also stopped homeschooling and switched to public school, so I don't see her most of the day. Its all just sad and I am ready to do something about itbrokenheart.gif

post #2 of 7
I think 6 is old enough to tell her most of the things you've posted here and tell her that you thought you were doing the right things at the time but that you have realized that some of the things you were doing were not helpful and possibly hurtful. It makes a big impact on a child to hear their parents say that they were wrong and try to make amends. For me, having an honest and open discussion would probably be a first step. Tell her you'd like to be closer and ask her what kinds of things she might like to do while spending time together. Maybe there are things you could teach her - cooking? sewing? gardening? It's so much easier to connect with kids when you are working on something together, I have found.
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

That is such good simple advice. Joy is such a bright child, I do think she could understand a conversation like that. She loves cooking shows with a passion. She'd love to cook. I'll ask her what she might like to make. 

post #4 of 7


Edited by dkorovikov - 11/12/12 at 2:56pm
post #5 of 7

Focus on a ' working with , giuded participation, collaborative problem , transcending basic living into a learning experience , consult her , let her feel part of the decision making process - her concerns and perspectives are important , talk in the plural we or our family , share your feelings, perspectives and then ask what does she think 

post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 

wonderful suggestions! is it sad (and yet great) that all of these are new concepts to me?! luxlove.gif

post #7 of 7

I'd suggest choosing a time each week that the two of you spend together so that she learns to count on that time with you. Having a time each week will ensure (most of the time) that other things don't get in the way of your mother-daughter time. Also the fact that you are putting her on the calendar each week will demonstrate your commitment to the relationship (without you ever having to say so).


My children are teenagers now, but I have worked hard to spend at least 45 minutes of focused time with them each week of their entire lives. There were plenty of times that the time was more than 45 minutes. Of course I did lots of things with my kids through the week as a stay at home parent, but the focused time of just "being" with them or playing games with them was different and helped me get to know them better. We varied the things we did together and sometimes we would take turns choosing. Sometimes it was just a trip to the part to swing on the swings that went really high. Sometimes it was to get a treat such as a milkshake or doughnut. We might ride bikes and take a picnic along. One time we took my daughter's tea set to the doughnut shop and ate our doughnuts off of the tea set plates and put our drinks in the tea cups.


I still work hard to make time to spend with my teens when it works according to their schedules. My oldest is away at college now, but during his senior year of high school, he got our of school around lunch time and we would meet out for lunch at least twice a month.


Another choice I'm really happy about is that everyone pitched in to get dinner on the table. So that meant that one of my kids often had the job of helping me cook. So every week of their lives, my children helped me cook at least once and sometimes twice. I have great memories of teaching them to cook all types of foods and it was great to have another time during the week for one on one time. The "talking time" while cooking was priceless. So that's another way to build bonds with children.


Just one more idea for you (so you have lots of ideas to choose from), create a simple ritual at bedtime or in the mornings, something simple that you say or do.  For example, maybe you read to her for 10 minutes each night at bedtime. Or maybe you brush your teeth together in the mornings. Whatever you choose make it something that you like to do a little bit so you'll keep doing it.


Okay, I thought of another idea.  Read picture books to her that convey unconditional love: "Guess How Much I Love You?", "The Invisible String", etc.

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