Five start parenting starts is built upon a foundation of quality time.
You love your kid/s. You want to spend every possible moment with them. However, you also know the importance of food, shelter, education, etc all of which cost money. That means you have to work to provide for your family. Perhaps you also love what you do and would continue to work, even if you didn’t need the money.
Before you spend another day feeling guilty beating yourself up about not being able to spend all your time with your kids, consider that consistent quality time is much more valuable to your kid’s development than constant contact.
Psychologists who study early childhood development and attachment style have identified four attachment styles:
- Anxious/Preoccupied – These children have parents who are sometimes there for them and sometimes aren’t. As a result, the child may exhibit neediness, clinginess, desperation, or anxiety around their relationships throughout their lives and will struggle with self-regulation.
- Avoidant – These children have parents who meet the child’s basic needs, but fail to address the child’s emotional needs. As a result these children adapt by becoming emotionally removed from their own emotions and developing a pseudo-independent stance, (i.e. I can take care of myself).
- Disorganized – A disorganized attachment can form when a parent is frightening to their child or when they are frightened by the child, which causes parents to act in unpredictable ways. Because of this erratic and unpredictable parental behavior children are unable to organized strategy to get their needs met. These children often display dramatic emotional turmoil and will present as extremely impulsive and reactive.
- Secure – These children have parents who are consistently available physically and emotionally, but do not hover or smother. As a result, kids with this attachment style feel safe when parents are absent, feel joyful when parents return, and prefer their parents to strangers. As they grow these children build trustworthy and long lasting relationships, exhibit high-self esteem, are emotionally expressive, and comfortable asking for help when they need it.
Also keep in mind that according to attachment researcher Edward Tronick, even the best parents are only attuned to their children about 30 percent of the time. Basically, you can mess up and parent imperfectly 60% of the time, under one condition.
You have to repair relational ruptures that occur between you and your child. This means you have to know your child well enough to pick up on moments when they maybe experiencing negative emotions in relationship to you.
As Dr. Siegel puts it, if parents are able to “repair the ruptures” that occur between them and their kids, a secure attachment can be sustained.
We define quality time as time spent being fully present for the sole purpose of seeing and hearing about the people your children are becoming.
What This Looks Like
There are two types of quality time we encourage our clients to treasure if they intended to raise health and well-adjusted adults.
- Proactive Quality Time – Create proactive quality time with your children by…
- Scheduling time with your kids. Keep in mind that you want to choose a frequency and duration that you can sustain
- Asking your kids how they would like to spend this time. Including them in the process will help you address their emotional needs of being seen and heard by you
- Being fully present during this time
- Communicating your genuine interest in them during this time
- Being aware of your own expectations and be patient with your children.
It is not their job to meet your needs, it is your job to meet theirs.
- Responsive Quality Time – Sometimes work needs to come first. Sometimes your kids needs to come first. Give yourself permission to set boundaries with your children about your work. Additionally, know when to pivot your attention from work to your children.
You love your kids. You love your work. This is a beautiful thing. It’s good for children to be raised by passionate and drive parents. These parents make wonderful role models. It’s only when passion or addiction to work overpowers commitment to family that you need to sound the alarm. You got this!
Want more ideas about how to create quality time with your kids? Check out these e-books, brought to you by Rich Legacy:
8 Ways For Busy Dads To Improve Their Relationship With Their Children
8 Ways For Mompreneurs To Improve Their Relationship With Their Children