Are You Building This?

Parenting takes a lot out of us. Being parented takes a lot out of a kid, too. Just think about how often our kids are criticized, how often they are corrected. We’re always telling them to do this and not do that. All day at school, their teachers are enforcing rules, letting them know how they do or don’t measure up.

Is it any wonder why our kids are so often depressed? Or frustrated? Or don’t want to listen?

In her book Good Inside (which we’ve been raving about), Dr. Becky spends a lot of time on strategies to combat this. She calls it “building connection capital.” Her point is that getting your kids to listen, getting them to respond–especially in big moments on big things–depends on trust. It depends on the bond between the two of you. It depends on them feeling like they are seen and heard and understood by the person who is supposedly doing all these things “for your own good.”

If our kids are running on empty, if our relationship with them is not much more than a few minutes in the morning and a few hours in the evening, tired moments in the car, denied requests, reminders to do chores and homework, why would they listen? Why would they believe that we care, that this thing is important, that they can trust that we know best? They wouldn’t! They’re exhausted. They’re lonely. They’re tapped out, zapped out.

So if you’re struggling at home, struggling to reach your kids, don’t start by raising your voice louder. You’re not going to solve this problem by being stricter. You’ve got to start with connection. You’ve got to fill them up, secure that bond, build connection capital. And from there, you’ll be able to make some progress.

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