Children and Time.
Often the questions many psychologists will ask when a child or adolescent is experiencing difficulties is to do with the relationship dynamics in the family e.g., “How much time do you spend together?” “What’s your family’s day to day routine look like?” “Who gets along best?” “What happens when someone is upset in your family?”. Knowing these things helps us to imagine a young person’s world and to work out how strong and secure their relationships are.
Although sometimes specific interventions are needed – often (regardless of the responses to the above questions) I will recommend “quality time” family and one-on-one time.
It is incredible how spending valuable time with children and adolescents can change relationships. It helps to strengthen the foundations of the family and a young person’s life. This means that when things get rocky, as it inevitably will at times throughout their lives, the young person has a safe and secure base to return to.
Of course, we all have very busy lives in this day and age, so it may not be about spending more time – just being more present and mindful in your day to day interactions. Often this requires parents to press pause and really listen to what children and adolescents are saying. Being guided by what they are interested in, acting interested, being curious, and above all just listening. It so hard to want to interrupt and offer unsolicited advice or change the course of the conversation. Acting interested doesn’t mean you actually have to be interested… that’s why I have specifically said “acting”. With encouragement, your child will feel like they have a space to talk, that what they’re saying is valued, and allow them to gain confidence that what they have to say is important. AND you never know what you will learn about your children by being open to whatever they have to say.
This might happen in the morning over breakfast, on the way to school, or over a family dinner. When there are opportunities to do things with your child and spend “quality time” together take them (even if it’s just 5 minutes)! It could change your relationships for the better.