Parenting has it’s challenges, but last week I stumbled upon a surprising secret. I was under a lot of stress with a project I was working on. My daughter was involved in it too so it was important to me to keep my cool and do a good job since I knew she was watching how I handled it. What I discovered was that through this stressful event, we were able to discuss some very important and “deep” subjects. I had some of my best parenting moments through that stress. I got to thinking about this afterwards and realized that I’d accidentally stumbled upon an extremely important lesson:
Real parenting is done in the little moments.
I never would have been able to have had such good conversations with her and pass on my beliefs and values on these topics if I’d just sat down and brought up the subjects we were discussing. It was in the course of going through that event that the opportunities arose naturally. Because they fell into the context of the situation they weren’t awkward, uncomfortable and ineffective. No! Instead, she was interested, and able to see real life examples based on what we were going through.
I realized this is the key to those difficult discussions that parent fret over. You know the ones I mean – “birds and the bees”, puberty, choosing good friends, faith, having the right priorities. These conversations about your morals and values don’t occur by sitting your child down and saying, “Today I want to talk to you about ____.” Absolutely not! They occur in the context of everyday life. You drop little snippets of information here and there. Your kids will pick these up! I guarantee it. And when they are at a point where they want to know more, they’ll feel comfortable asking you while you’re doing this because you’ve already laid the foundation for being willing to talk about these subjects. They aren’t seen as taboo.
So begin looking for those little moments whether it be in something going on in your life, something you see on TV together, or something going on in the lives of those around you. Those are the teachable moments. That’s when you can really connect with your kids.