This post is part of the 30 Days Towards Connected Parenting series.
In our modern society, there are many roadblocks to connection. Many come in the form of distractions.
I find the smaller distractions (rather than larger ones like work for example) are harder and more insidious. They add up and we are often less aware of them but their impact is just as real and unhelpful. These distractions obviously differ for each individual parent.
Distractions often lead to disconnection and the types we face stem from our own personalities and how we cope with stresses. Most of the ways we can become disconnected from our children is through becoming connected to something else. If this resonates with you, the first step is recognising what it is that is holding you back and then dealing with why.
I feel that the answer isn’t to remove distractions but to be mindful of them. To only have distractions that serve a purpose – for work or leisure – be mindful of what you are putting your energy into and make sure they align with what you want in life!
Furthermore, the impact and level of these distractions is for you alone to determine. Only you and your family have to be comfortable with it.No one else has to agree with what that level is. You as a parent know yourself and your children best and it’s about consciously finding that balance and working at it.
For some things, involving your children can help too! If the distraction is cleaning, cooking, gardening, even games – you can invite them to be involved or discuss it with them. I personally have asked my children what they think of my mobile phone use and have involved them in my blog.
As a mum with clinical depression and anxiety, I’m acutely aware of my ability to disconnect in a way to cope. Whether it’s through connecting to social media, wanting space as an introvert or simply being ‘busy’.
Time is the most valuable gift we have for our children. As a parent it’s important to recognise how we spend our time and manage that balance for our kids.
Are you showing them that they are your priority? Do they see and hear and feel that through what you do?
If the concept of distracted or disconnected parenting makes you uncomfortable, that’s a sure fire way of knowing it’s something you really need to explore and work on. Any time I have found the balance tipping away from connection, I know that it makes me feel guilty or uncomfortable to think about distractions or disconnection. I know then it was because my priorities were not aligned with my inner ideals. It can be tempting to not deal with something when it makes you feel defensive but generally it means you really need to.
I feel it’s important to recognise we can’t be 100% mindful and present. It’s about nurturing and relishing in those pockets of time where you are present and making the time.
What do you dedicate most of your time to? Does it align with what you want to prioritise? Do your children feel like your priority? What distractions do you feel you could reduce or remove to better use your time?
Spend time with those you love. One of these days you will say either “I wish I had” or “I am glad I did”. – Unknown.