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Building relationships with our children and possibly son/daughter in-laws, is often a tricky undertaking, isn’t it?
Do you ever feel like you’re making lead way with your own kids, only to feel at some point in time like you’re not where you thought you were in the process of establishing a strong relationship with them?
I think most parents go through that somewhere along the line. If not in the “tween” years, definitely, in their “teen” years.
Recently I caught up with a good friend who I’ve not seen in over 15 years. Terrible, I know. The good thing is – we picked up almost right where we left off. Two and one half hours later my heart was full of joy with his updates.
During our enriched conversation he shared with me how he’s living what I call: “the dad dream life.” He eagerly spoke of his daughters having great husbands and how he has a great relationship with his sons-in-law as well as totally bonkers over his grandkids.
I let him finish his enthusiastic explanation – which left me quite envious, to say the least. Then again, I don’t have any sons-in-law or daughters-in-law so I still got time.
After he finished I asked him one question. His answer is some of what I want to share with you today. His answer is one that is so vitally important to building relationships, not only with your sons-in-laws, but also with your own kids… in fact, with almost anyone.
My question was this: “So, bro, what did you do to cultivate such great relationships with your sons-in-law?
His didn’t have a “pad” answer – he was actually passionate about the process. I want to share with you three things he did and I’ll also add a couple more of my own experience.
Here are 3 Ways to Cultivate A Thriving Relationship with Your kids:
1. Be transparent.
Your kids may not know everything about you, but they perceive more than you think. Do you remember how your parents didn’t tell you much about themselves but when you grew up you just knew what they were like?
In fact, you could even describe parts of their personalities and likes and dislikes to the “T” even to their surprise.
Likewise, your kids will perceive if your relationship building is genuine and from the heart. My friend went on to share how he is who he is at home and with “his boys” as he referred to them. They’ve seen him upset, as well as moved to tears about something special.
I’m not saying that you need to unveil everything about you to your kids, but when you’re real, transparent and genuine, they will not only appreciate that, they will also be attracted to that as well. It shows them that they’re safe in your real environment.
2. Be Honest.
Transparency is not necessarily honesty. Honesty is simply a revelation of your heart and character with rectitude and integrity.
In other words, my friend continued: “Whenever we get together for special events, like thanksgiving, Christmas Dinner, etc., I always point them to the Cross of Christ.”
He basically shares with them he didn’t always enjoyed life like he does now. He mentioned how he points them to Christ and reminds them of his grace.
It’s important to help your kids understand your transformation from your younger years. They need to connect with you – more importantly, they need to connect with God. They need to see how you have relied on God (if you are a believer) and how you’ve been willing to change in order to be the parent you are today.
They need to know that you’ve put in your time, but more importantly, that you were willing to change and willing to continue to change and better yourself. Honesty goes hand in hand with transparency.
"Honesty is simply a revelation of your heart and character with rectitude and integrity." - Alex Colon
3. Be intentional.
Other than your typical TV entertainment together, it’s important to be intentional in the process of building a thriving relationship with your kids.
My friend mentioned that every once in a while he’s exceptionally intentional. He would plan a “boys’ night out.” They'd go out to see a movie and then out to eat with just him and his sons-in-law. Is that cool or what?!
No wives allowed – just the boys. This, he said, has caused a great deal of fun around them and they actually look forward to hanging out with him at any given time.
Sometimes we need to not only be spontaneous, but also intentional and come up with something out of the ordinary, like going out for ice-cream, or to the movies.Maybe is going to the park, or painting a picture together.
Find whatever it is that you enjoy and your child (or children) would enjoy and do it. This will help reinforce your relationship with them.
Building relationships with our kids is not a cakewalk in the park – it takes work. With our busy schedules, high demanding lifestyles, we must become intentional, honest and transparent with your families. After all, our families are all we have to build a strong home relationship with.
In the end, making a living is not nearly as important as making a life. What more rewarding is it to build a thriving family relationship with our own flesh and blood. I have composed a small guide with 5 Ways to Build a Thriving Relationship with Your Kids to help you in your process.
Meanwhile, I’m interested to know other ways you’ve implemented to develop a thriving relationship with your kids. Please share below and help us all grow towards “the dad or mom dream life."
About the Author
Alex Colón, Entrepreneur, Author, Speaker, Teacher, Pastor, Blogger and best of all, Husband and Father of 4. Living the re-Branded life