By Traci L. Gaffney
When I was growing up, I would hear parents say, “You’re grounded!” And, we all know what that meant … you were not goinganywhere for quite some time.
Fortunately, I have not had much experiencing with this form of “grounding” with my own children. I believe it is because we are acommunication-oriented family. We talk about everything.
It dawned on me the other day, that as a society and as parents, we have really missed the boat on what “grounding” was intended to create.
When we “ground” our child, what are we trying to accomplish? We want to bring them back to the hub (home) to regroup. That is true “grounding.” However, with all the stress and busy-ness that most families experience these days, we’ve missed the most important step … the connection, teaching and learning piece. After all, is sending our kids to their room for any particular amount of time going to create any sort of life changing “lightbulb” moment? I don’t think so.
We have an opportunity here, to teach critical thinking skills that our kids can use for the rest of their lives. Wow! That’s one of the perks of being a parent. We get to guide this child. It’s a gift.
So, what do we do when we want to “ground” our child? Here are a few tips:
- Before you talk with them, make sure you are coming from your desire to understand them, and a desire to bridge the gap between where they are and where they need to be. You will need this bridge, because your goal is to understand where the train went off the track, then to repair the track, and lastly to get the train rolling again … in a healthy direction.
- Sit down with your child. Ask for their side of the story. Listen. Clarify when you don’t understand. It’s important that they get that you hear them, and that you understand. You may not agree; understanding is different than agreeing.
- Share with them how you are feeling and what you think. Share your experiences and your fears. Be transparent and honest.
- Be sure this is a two-way conversation.
- Ask your child if they have any questions for you, or if there is anything they need from you in that moment, and leave the door wide open for future conversation.
- When you are both complete, let them know you love them with a hug and “I love you.”
Love is not dependent upon what another does. Love simply is.
This process may be more or less challenging, depending upon the age of your child and the level of trust you have built up to this point. Wherever you are in your relationship with your child, consciously use this process to build trust and communication.
Thank you for making a huge difference in the world by being a conscious parent.
Wishing you a joyous and love-filled New Year!