Just because your kids are your offspring, doesn’t necessarily mean you will have a bunch in common. I learned this when it came to my son. I love him to death and love spending time with him, but we are polar opposites in terms of personality and interests.
While my son loves being in the great outdoors and camping and fishing, I’m very studious and prefer to be at my computer. I am a marketer, and after spending several years huddled inside from the harsh weather while I attended business school in Vancouver, I have become accustomed to spending most of my time inside.
However, I soon learned that if I wanted to bond with my son at all, I would have to brave the sun and take on some of his hobbies. I began to do outdoor activities with him, and it helped us bond, and we have such a better relationship because of it.
Based on my positive experience, here are some tips for relating to your kids when you have completely opposite personalities:
4 Ways to Relate to Your Child
Learn to Compromise
I’m a self-declared nerd. I love nothing more than hanging out in online Star Wars forums and playing chess, but my son is definitely much cooler. He’s super popular at school and loves to spend his weekends doing adventure and extreme sports. We learned to compromise by agreeing to go hiking together.
I wanted to embrace my kid’s hobbies, but there was no way I was going to take up white water rafting or skiing. So we discussed what hobby we could both enjoy, and it turned out to be hiking. We now go on weekly hikes together, and it’s proven to be a great way to get to spend time together. So always try and compromise when it comes to your kid’s interests, and find a middle ground.
Children can handle problems. They’re smarter than you think.
As a parent, you do not always have to be involved in your children’s problems. They are their own people, and it is important for them to learn decision making on their own in certain situations. This is how they will develop socially.
If they do come to you for help, for instance, on their math homework, talk them through the problem step by step instead of just giving them an answer. An in-house academic set-up including writing boards, project or craft tables, and a cool study room will surely give them a friendly environment to discuss the academics with you and solve problems on their own, and they will appreciate your help and advice.
Do Something New Together
Rather than feeling like you have to take on one another’s hobbies in order to bond, try something you both have never done before. My son and I had never gone abroad, so we took a trip to Europe together. Exploring new places together really helped us bond, and we experienced memories that we will share forever.
So if you’re stuck of what to do when your kid is totally different from you, consider doing something that you would both like to do but have never had the chance to do before.
Accept that You’re Different
Neither you nor your children should feel they have to change who they are in order to bond with each other. Accept that you’re different, and work with it.
They say opposites attract, and this can be the same with your parent-child relationship. My son and I even joke about how different we are from one another, and it’s become an endearing joke we share with others at parties and general social gatherings. You both are who you are, so don’t feel like you have to change it.