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Staying conected to older children


Forum: Attachment Parenting

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  #1  
April 10th, 2009, 12:20 PM
broxi3781's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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Location: belfast, northern ireland
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We spend the early years building a close bond through AP, how do you maintain that bond as children grow older? Those of you with older children can you share any ideas?
I am definately starting our official family night every tuesday now.
I am hoping by having a set night of the week from the time mine are young, it will be easier to keep as they get older. Playing board games or video games, watching a movie, sitting outside with a fire when weather permits or going on a night exploration of the river path, just simple things but it is my hope it will give us time to talk as a family etc...
With my daughter we had scary videos and pizza nights until she decided she was too old for that stuff, but it wasnt a set night each week. I am hoping a set routine will help keep it going.
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  #2  
April 10th, 2009, 02:16 PM
KatiesGirls
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With Julie we still spend a lot of time snuggling. She still lets us hold her when we read and we just generally keep the same amount of goofy love in our house as when she was a tiny baby. She is still young so I still treat her like my baby
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  #3  
April 10th, 2009, 04:15 PM
Sophia1Day
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Staying connected to older children is easier then most think. Just join them in their world.

The first thing to do, is to simply notice. Perhaps they have a favorite TV show (if you are a home that allows TV) You wouldn't even have to say a word, you could just sit down with them when it comes on and watch it with them. Don't be surprised when one day, during a commercial of course, they turn to you and say "Can you believe that.... (continued by rant about TV show)... welcome to their world!

Another way to notice is to comment on what you see. You've been on the phone with Becky a lot this week. Perhaps you would like to invite her on our camping trip this week?" or "You seem to prefer baking to cooking. How about I teach you that recipe of Grandma's for the chocolate mouse cake you love?"

See how there are ways to invite yourself into their world, or leave room for them to invite you into theirs. Also don't miss out on the subtle invitations they offer up from time to time. You will have to respect that they don't want to connect the way you do all the time. They may not feel that cooking is connecting, or that a hiking trip or fishing trip is connecting. If you want to connect, you need to join them in THEIR world. Find something they love, and love it with them. The connection will follow naturally.

Perhaps your child loves books. A "just because" gift card to a book store says "I notice and I care". Sitting down while they read and reading a book of your own would work too (I don't recommend this if they are reading in their room, but lets say they are reading in the family room, you can sit down and read too) Or perhaps saying "I just finished this book about ..... maybe you'd like it too." or "hey, what are you reading? that sounds interesting, can I borrow it when you are done?" A child will hear "*I* am interesting to my parent" when you say the book they are reading sounds interesting.

Hope some of these ideas help. If you are stuck, and working on rebuilding a lost connection, it may take work and it may take some baby steps to get there. The more you notice them, the more important they realize they are to you. Of course you don't want to seem NOSY and it can be a fine line, but just think about when you were that age. Would what you are saying be invasive or welcomed when you were that age. If it would be welcomed, and you think your child would also welcome it, then give it a go.

Another thing that is helpful to me is to remember to treat others the way THEY want to be treated. I've learned in life that not everyone wants to be treated the way I do, so treating others the way I want to be treated doesn't respect them as an individual beautifully different person. Teens really need this especially, it's a very confusing time of life, but we can make it clear for them with a little TLC.

Edit to add a little more insight: Another thing that may come up, may be that you are not interested in the things they are. This can be hard - but remember what your true interest is: THEM. They are your interest. You may not be interested in the book they are reading, but you are interested in them and you can learn about them by reading the book they read. Same with watching a show they like, going camping with them when you don't like camping, or going to see a movie with them you wouldn't want to see, and so on.

My husband and I are very different people too. He has no interest in the things I like, and vice versa. However, we have an interest in each other. He listens to the things I am passionate about and I listen to the things he is passionate about. That is how we connect. I neither pretend I am interested in something I am not, nor do I "make it known" I am not interested. I am interested in the person, and I am letting them share *what* they are interested in with me, because I am interested in *them*. I care about what is important to them.

This is a wonderful thing to model for our children as well. As they get older, they begin to be interested in us. We can learn so much from eachother. I may not be interested in cars, but because my husband is, and I am interested in him, I have learned a lot about him and about cars. An older child may not be interested in laundry, (okay, not that I am exactly either, but I'm interested in having it done so the people I love have clean clothes to wear) but they become interested in me and spending time with me, and may ask me how come I do the wash a certain way, or if there is something they can do to help. We join worlds. We join theirs, and they join ours. You hear the phrase "bridging the gap" and that's what it is. We may never live in their world, or love their interests - but we love them and we are interested in them, and we want that connection (bridge) so we can join them in their world for a visit. Being connected doesn't mean living in the same world, it means being able to join that world at any time, because the connection (bridge) is there that allows us to do so.

Last edited by Sophia1Day; April 11th, 2009 at 08:27 AM.
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  #4  
April 10th, 2009, 04:42 PM
Nekinna2402's Avatar Anniken <3 Tanja
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I don't have a older child but I'm "only" 17yrs so im still pretty connected with my own dad

and i think Sophia had many great ideas on how you can connect with your older kids
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  #5  
April 10th, 2009, 04:53 PM
KatiesGirls
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lol ignore my post. I was just trying to participate because I thought it was a great topic.
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  #6  
April 10th, 2009, 05:13 PM
beck12's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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^^^ LOL Of course you can participate & it IS a great topic!


I think it is funny because Sophia brought up books & I hadn't been reading much since Jonah was born (just felt too busy) but have gotten into more reading again in recent months. Marlette & I constantly are reading the same book, sometimes at the same time. We even at times decide to not "read ahead" and trade a book back & forth, trading a the end of each chapter (sometimes it is soooo hard NOT to read head!) so that we can stay on the same part of the book & discuss it as we go. Occasionally you are allowed to read two chapters (so the same person isn't always "ahead" in the book) etc. Dh thinks we are silly. He always asks why we don't wait our turn & just read it all at once - or even get two copies from the library - but he doesn't understand the POINT. It's more fun the way we do it - even if I can't even explain why.

I feel lucky that I am a certified massage therapist. This has always helped me in bonding with Marlette & her older sister. Even when you think a child doesn't have much to talk about - it is amazing how much comes out while they are being truly pampered in this peaceful way. It is good in other relationships as well, but particularly with a teen - because she can be VERY busy - but she will always make time for me to do a sugar scrub and/or massage for her & in return she talks to me a good chunk of that time. She also feels rejuvenated & loved. When she has been having a particularly difficult time, I see a HUGE change if I just simply offer to draw her a bath with candles & soft music & let her soak for an hour first....then if we can, we do a massage & some talking. It really helps her come back to center. It works on Dh too - although he usually opts for a shower. Now that I think about it - it would for me too - but no one seems to know how to do a good massage around here.... Sometimes I don't have time to do a massage, or no one to watch Jonah while I do...so I just draw her an awesome bath with scented oils & candles & music...then I pre-heat the bath with our space heater & heat her towels in the drier & bring them to her when she is ready to get out. Even that alone feels pampering I am sure....and it is better than nothing when she doesn't want to open up yet & I am too busy to be able to do anything more for her.
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  #7  
April 11th, 2009, 07:52 AM
broxi3781's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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Sophia, your post was brilliant about meeting them in their world. When I think about it, DH is on very good terms with a number of older boys about here, because he takes them fishing, joins them in an interest.
Beck, the book idea sounds really fun too, and you are so right, so much comes out naturally when you just have a bit a time to pamper, or spend time together without TRYING to find time to talk.
And Katie, we didnt say how much older, your post is certainly welcome as most of us can relate to it right now
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  #8  
April 11th, 2009, 08:05 AM
mamatomaica's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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beck and sophia your responses to this are lovely
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  #9  
April 11th, 2009, 11:01 AM
*Bobbie*'s Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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I have a pretty close bond with my teens. (My step-teens ages 18 and 15...not so much but I try) I did AP with my daughter but not so much with my son. I got PG at 15 with him and was still in highschool so my parents did a lot of the parenting with him.

With my kids ages 14 and 17 (will be 18 in a month) I think the best way to stay connected with them is to talk, talk, talk. We talk about anything and everything. I find if I am getting cold feet about bringing up a subject like teen pregnancy or sex...the easiest thing to do is just blurt it out... thinking about it is always worse than the actual conversation for me... LOL

I also try to stay connected with their friends. We do have their friends come on camping trips and day trips just about every time we go. We also bring them to my parents house a lot to go swimming or out on the boat. It is an added expense sometimes but sooo worth it to know who they are hanging out with, and to get to really know the other teens. The friends also get to know us and know our rules and what we expect.

As they were growing up we watched a lot of movies with them and ate dinner as a family whenever possible. Now family dinners are a thing of the past no one is ever home at the same time. We do try and have dinner together whenever possible though. In the pre-teen and early teen years we played A LOT of UNO and other games. They really loved that time spent as a family and still ask to play when we are all home.

Shopping is also a great way to stay connected. It gives you a lot of one on one time. I have found they open up a lot when we are alone.

Stay in tune with them... my son can just walk in the door if something is bothering him and I know immediately something is wrong. I usually ask him what's up and then give him some time if he says "nothing" or "I don't want to talk about it". Usually within an hour he is talking about it on his own. With their dad he usually just gets angry or blows it off. I am glad my kids know they can talk to me about anything and I won't dismiss their feelings or get angry. Okay sometimes I get angry but not screaming mad... LOL

I know I am doing a good job raising them when the first thing they do when they come home is come in my room and lay on my bed and start talking and not stop. Some teens would just go in their room and shut the door. I am glad it is my door they are shutting and not theirs

Now that the baby is here it has brought the family even closer together. Blending two families is never easy. Even though it's been 8 years it is still hard work. Having a baby to connect our two families even more has been a blessing. I knew they would love having a brother but didn't know how he would seal the bond between them as siblings.
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