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Forefront families by Brian & Sally Burgess; When there is never enough time...; www.forefrontfamilies.org

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Brian and Sally Burgess

We received a question from a parent the other day that read, “We find it incredibly difficult to spend time with our children and we easily become impatient with them.  We love them dearly, but what can we do?”

The following was our response:  This is a common issue in most families. We discover that elastic only stretches so far and impatience and frustration are a natural expression of our inability to meet all the obligations of our busy lives.  There is no getting away from it!  Children certainly alter the course of our lives and when we look back, we have to admit it is surely for the better.

When children are very young it is difficult to get any personal time for yourself and that, in itself, is frustrating.  Suddenly, all that time you devoted to your own interests evaporates and as you look into the future you wonder if and when you will ever get back onto your own personal track.  Take heart!  You will get your life back much quicker than you think!

Our kids become demanding for many reasons.  They want us to value them and to encourage them.  They want to know they are loved.  They get frustrated, confused and may feel insecure when we don’t listen, when we are too busy or too tired, when they don’t know our expectations and when we are inconsistent with our discipline.  Kids want to feel part of the team.  They want to be given responsibility and, most of all, they want to hear your praise for a job well done, rather than being chastised for wrongdoing all the time.

How can we create enough time for our kids while taking care of all our other responsibilities as parents?  It is a matter of resetting our priorities.

Routines:  It is important to have clear and regular routines in the home.  Create a daily schedule that includes times for chores, and homework.  Ensure that the kids share the chores so there is time to build family relationships.  Set times for fun and for one-on-one activities with your children.

Really get to know your kids: When you observe their personalities, find out about their interests, dreams and aspirations and genuinely get involved in their everyday lives.  They will not be so demanding if they feel you value them.  They want to know you care.  Be certain to acknowledge their efforts and be assured that they will thrive on your encouragement.

One-on-one communication time:  Take time with each child.  They need to be able to trust you enough to tell you anything, and to know you will give them the best advice without being judgmental.  This type of setting is the best way to evaluate your child’s feelings and head off issues that can become major time-consuming problems later.  A parent’s job is to keep the home environment calm and trouble free.

Make time for yourselves:  Within your schedule, make time for yourself and for your spouse.  When you are happy, the home environment is peaceful.  Your kids learn from you when you set and reach goals for yourselves.  Of course, your personal activities need to be in line with the family schedule.

Time invested when children are small pays off later. If they don't get parental guidance, attention and affection from you now, they will seek it from others outside the home and it may be from individuals you would not want your child to associate with.  Children are precious gifts from the Lord.  Our task, as parents, is to develop responsible, productive, law abiding, loving adults who become caring parents in their own right.  

We trust that the suggestions above will help create a framework where order and planning allows you to be able to fit in all those things that create happiness and achievement within your family.

If you have any comments or suggestions on this topic please do not hesitate to contact us at sally@forefrontfamilies.org, or visit our blogsite at www.forefrontfamilies.blogspot.com or our website at www.forefrontfamilies.org.

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