Are you a working parent or a working set of parents, with young or school-age children?
Are mornings predictably chaotic for you?
Do you feel stressed, anxious and uptight trying to get out the door on time?
If you answered yes, then you need to know you are NOT alone! Work-day/school-day mornings tend to be one of the most challenging times for families, yet it’s rarely talked about.
Why is that?
There are some obvious reasons why mornings are challenging, and then some less obvious ones. First of all, mornings tend to be frenetic! We get up, have breakfast, get dressed, pack lunches, complete last minute tasks–all under time-pressures. Furthermore, kids and parents may still be tired, or have low blood sugar from the night before.
However, the most overwhelming and least talked about reason is that the hectic-pace and task-focused realities of mornings make authentic connection between parents and child hit and miss at best. At worst, there is conflict, irritation, frustration and disharmony.
Most parents assume that this is normal; that morning disconnection is a natural part of life. Although it may be normal in our modern, Western cultures, it’s far from beneficial. In fact, it can be emotionally harmful for children to develop predictable times of disconnect with their parents.
“I have lots to do,” parents rightfully say to themselves. “My child doesn’t get it that I have important places to go and important things to do.”
While that is entirely true, children and youth have a primary need that has been identified in developmental and attachment literature that sadly gets missed when we focus on tasks rather than our children. That need is healthy emotional attachment. Mornings are a key times when parents focus on responsibilities while the emotional needs of children get left behind.
This surprises some parents. You might be thinking, “Yes, but my kid knows that I love him. His emotions are fine–I think”. Or, “Emotional needs? What’s the big deal? I feed and clothe her, take her to sports and music. She’s got what she needs.”
Food, clothing, a safe home, leisure and recreation are all important for children. However, what the pertinent literature points to more than ever in recent times, is the unparalleled value of a deep and abiding connection or bond between a parent and their child. This is the vital element for building an emotionally healthy, resilient child who can tackle the curve balls life throws at him or her with relative ease.
Dr. Gordon Neufeld, attachment and developmental expert has gone so far as to say, “Parents are more important than peers.” The reason is that vibrant attachments between parents and children supersede early independence, becoming proficient in a sport, or being the top of the child’s grade 3 class.
Brain science has demonstrated that for children to have the necessary building blocks to become emotionally and socially mature and responsive as they age, a consistent and secure bond with their primary caregivers is essential.
While I am certain there is no parent who doesn’t want to be an excellent attachment figure, there are subtle cultural norms that unknowingly get in the way of healthy bonds. The first norm is distracted business. The second is the mistaken notion that an emotional connection with our kids is not as important as all the tangible stuff and valuable opportunities we offer our kids.
Both notions are dead wrong! Children need us as parents connected in the emotional realm more than almost anything else next to physical safety.
Children need parents to be:
Superparent 101: Mastering the Morning Routine is a course that teaches parents these things and more. It is focused on helping parents design a flexible morning routine that ensures they keep their children emotionally attached in productive ways. When children learn to follow a predictable morning routine while having their emotional needs met, they tend to be more compliant, making mornings more manageable and enjoyable for all.
Superparent 101: Mastering the Morning Routine is written by Coralee Nelson, BA, BED, MED. She is a mom, educator and licensed helping professional who has worked with children, youth and families for the last 15 years. She is passionate about incorporating relevant literature into aspects of family life that tend to be overlooked and undervalued like a predictable and flexible morning routine. Her goal is to help foster vibrant attachments between parents and children in order for children to develop into healthy, productive and prosocial adults. Coralee is a premiere instructor at Udemy.com
Enjoy the amazing benefits of reducing morning chaos, building closer bonds with your children and finding ways to meet their emotional needs so you can be positively connected with your children for life!