If you want to live a long life, nurture your relationships with family and friends. That’s one of the messages from a recent book by Franklin and Adler based on interviews with over 500 people over the age of 100.
While genetics are undoubtedly important to longevity, these centenarians discussed the importance of diet, exercise, a positive attitude, religion, and a variety of other factors. However, staying connected with others seemed of most importance to these older folks.
How can you teach your children the importance of relationships? It starts with their relationship with you. Parents who have a positive relationship with their kids raise youngsters who perform better in school, exhibit fewer behavior problems, and achieve more as adults. These kids may also live a longer life.
It’s tough to nurture those connections in our technological world. We love our smart phones, flat screen TVs and video games, but these pleasures have risky pitfalls. The technologies designed to connect us faster and better have the risk of disconnecting us from people we love. Here’s what effective parents do to stay engaged with their children.
1. Eat meals together at least four times per week. As your kids get older, have them join you in preparing family meals.
2. Power down the electronics, particularly during meals. This means no answering the phone, texting, or watching TV. Don’t bring your electronics to restaurants.
3. Do things together as a family. Involve your kids in family activities, whether that be going to movies or doing the grocery shopping. Develop family rituals that are meaningful, and be flexible enough to accommodate the needs of older kids.
4. Show interest in your child’s activities. Ask lots of questions and try to understand their perspective. Stop lecturing and giving your own opinion. Don’t ridicule music you’ve never heard, or criticize something you don’t understand. Allow yourself to enter into their world. Attend their school events, even if they tell you that it doesn’t matter. It really does!
5. Talk about your day with your kids. Share your joys and disappointments, and acknowledge your mistakes. Let your kids see you as a real person. Describe problems that you experienced and get their viewpoint on how they would deal with similar situations. Celebrate your happiness but acknowledge your feelings of sadness or anger as well.
6.Lighten up and laugh. Don’t pressure your kids too much. In a few years, their grade on a spelling test will be of no significance. Encourage them to get involved in a variety of activities outside of school.
How’s your relationship with your child? Why don’t you show them this article, and ask your youngster what everyone in the family might do differently to improve family relationships?