Cool is not a word that accurately describes me, especially as a parent. I’m not into pop culture or the last lingo. The kids help me manage my technology. I’m still pretty sure cookies are a sweet treat, but apparently they’re part of my computer as well. The thing is—I don’t care if I’m not cool or technological and I will always like my cookies with chocolate chips.
But this kind of cool is not the kind of cool parent I’m talking about today. I’m talking about being the parent who knows how to stay relevant in their kids’ lives. Parents tend to make the same mistakes that sabotage relationship with their kids. Let’s talk practical application—things you can do (or not do) today that will up your cool factor with your kids.
Do no under any circumstances—
~Take the Bait. Our kids know how to push our buttons like none other. Be honest—we do the same to them. But today, don’t. Overlook the little things that aggravate you and easily turn into an argument.
~Say, “I told you so.” No one likes to hear these words—ever—and especially our kids. They are trying to figure out their lives with their limited reasoning resources and wisdom. The last thing they need from us is to be reminded that once more they were wrong and we were right.
As often as possible—
~Be involved and interested in your kid’s life. Ask about their friends and expression sincere concern. Ask the question your child wants to answer. Ask about their passion, what sparks the light in their eyes, their plans for the future. Then listen, giving them your undivided attention. Offer to help—not overreaching, but actual help. Send or give notes of encouragement. Our girls love getting Starbucks gift cards in a note of encouragement.
~Be your child’s biggest cheerleader. Encourage your child’s good choices. Tell them you believe in them. Your support and encouragement means the world to your child. Think of how much your parents’ support would/does mean to you.
~Be the authentic. Your life should match your words. Your kids see your inconsistency and nothing turns off kids faster than hypocrisy. Let your kids know you don’t have your life altogether either. Talk about how you are in process and growing as well. Also be the real you—funny, musical, artistic, athletic, etc. Parents’ cool factor goes up when kids see their parents as people and not just parents.
I’m far from perfect, but by doing these few practical things my relationship with my kids has grown and flourished even through the rough spots.
What’s one thing you’ve done that has upped your cool factor with your kids?
*For more ideas on building relationship with your teen or young adult child check out Love No Matter What.
Brenda Garrison is an author and speaker who empowers women with the confidence to live their calling. Brenda is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science Degree in Ministry Leadership with a Concentration in Women’s Ministry at Moody Bible Institute. She and her husband, Gene, are the parents of three young adult daughters and live near Metamora, IL.