Abstract: Having good rapport with our kids makes parenting easier and much more enjoyable. When we do not take the time to build rapport, our kids can grow up feeling like second-class citizens that struggle with self-esteem, self-reliance and resilience, which often becomes the underlying cause of resistance and rebellion. We do not have to agree, we can simply see and accept where each person is coming from. As we respect and understand ourselves and our kids, we learn that we can be part of the resolution, rather than thinking that we are part of the problem.
How Good Is Our Rapport With Our Kids?
Cultivating a good rapport with our kids can make parenting easier and more enjoyable. When we take time the to listen to one another, we discover where each of us is coming from, creating harmonious and more peaceful relationships. We do not have to agree with each other. We can simply listen and accept how each other is thinking and feeling. Cultivating a good rapport expands the potential for our kids to listen to us. Good rapport is at core of being able to guide, teach and have an enjoyable time with kids. The more we listen and interact the easier and more fun our parenting becomes.
Cultivating good rapport happens when we:
- Cultivating an accepting environment allows the wonderful experience of growing together, without fear of being misunderstood. Acceptance brings understanding, empathy and compassion into our conversations. It breeds meaningful relationships with a sense of connection, trust and willingness to keep listening and respecting each other’s point of view. As we grow together with real interest and common ground, it creates an uplifting atmosphere of wanting to complement one another.
- Create safe and nurturing space to bond. A space where we share each other’s values, preferences, priorities and suggestions. It takes time to learn the art of relating and opening up to different ideas and new ways of perceiving things. No matter how much time our interactions take, it is well worth it. When we take the time to bring understanding on both sides of any interaction, we all learn. For instance, we might be feeling frustrated when our kids keep leaving the kitchen a mess. We ask them to clean up after themselves and they say they will, but then they wash their dishes and leave the sink, stove and counters a mess! Instead of getting frustrated and angry, we can ask them, “How clean do you think the kitchen was when you left it?” From their perspective, they say “It looked great!” Then we realize that they are still learning about what cleaning the kitchen means from our perspective. We remember that our kids are leaning about lots of things, including different expectations of how things should be.
- Create happy endings for our conversations. George Pransky, author of the Relationship Handbook, uses the metaphor of comparing relationships with a bank account. Happy endings to conversations count as a deposits, while unhappy endings count as withdrawals. The more deposits we have, the more harmony and resolution we can create. A good example is, at the end of a conversation about whether or not our kids can go out to an evening party, and we say “No”, it still can be a happy ending. If they feel that they have been listened to, respected and understood, they can feel some sense of satisfaction knowing that our decision is coming from a place of love and respect. We might even change our minds some day!
- Encourage our kids to learn from their mistakes. Let them share their experiences with us as we listen closely with compassion and understanding. We might ask them if they had a chance to do it over, what choice might they have made? Or simply ask what choice they would make a next time.
- Explain to them how following through creates trust. For instance, if they say they will be home at 5:00 pm, and the plans change, it is important to call us and let us know. Followed by their asking if coming home later will with work for us, and getting clarity about when they will be home.
- Support out kids in knowing they it is okay to interact, learn and express themselves in different ways. In their well known and respected book, The Wisdom of the Enneagram,by Riso and Hudson, we are given a wonderful tool for understanding each other better. We can learn about the different ways we are prone to think, feel and behave. Some of us tend to interact more freely with our emotional strengths, while some spend more time processing with their mental gifts and others respond and interact in a more action oriented way. We all have these emotional, mental and behavioral gifts, and it is helpful to bring more understanding in many transformational ways.
As we each grow into different life stages, we can enhance the rapport we have with our kids. We can assure them of our trust and ongoing support in their capacity to engage in the realities of life. Meanwhile, we can enjoy the deep sense of satisfaction of that we have done our best!
About the author: Over the past 40 years Crystal has been an expansion guide, author, coach and facilitator of a live event (now an online course) called Freedom at the Core, Freedom From the Inside Out. She draws from her own experience and experiences with the thousands of people that she has worked with from all over the world. She is known for the fun and empowering ways that she supports them in bringing forth the best in themselves and creating the experiences that they want in their lives. Now, as a mother and grandmother, she is coaching parents in realizing that they can make their daily lives with kids much easier and more enjoyable.