Workholic parents stay at their often high pressured jobs for long hours providing other caretakers for their kids. During the time they have at home, however, they are often still mentally keyed into their jobs. Their phones are on the hips and their minds are constantly leading them back to tasks and conflicts at work that need to be taken care of. How do they parent at the same time?
Problems of Kids of Workaholic Parents
Kids of these high stressed parents absorb their parents stress. This often interferes with feeling emotionally secure interrupting their concentration on school work and socialization. While their substitute caretakers may be very nurturing and supportive, there’s no actual substitute for the devotion of your own parents.
Kids miss their parents who have long working days and often develop sleep problems because they have trouble separating from their parents at night who they want more time with. Here are some helpful hints.
Create Boundaries Between Work and Home
1.When you come home from work, change into at home clothes. This fosters a more casual feeling that reminds you that parenting is your priority.
2.Put your work phone, computer and other work materials in an office or special room that is separate from where you are with your kids.
3.Don’t walk in the house on the phone with someone at work. Be prepared to greet your kids and show them you care.
4.If it is hard to make the transition from work to home, sit in your driveway or take a walk to give yourself ten minutes of down time before separating work and home life.
5.It needs to be re-emphasized that your work phone by your side is a hindrance. Even if it’s on vibrate or turned off the temptation to do one more thing related to work may be too compelling to dismiss. Take to heart that your kids feel left out when they hear you chatting away with a co-worker.
Spending Attentive Time with Your Kids
1.Make sure you develop routines about spending real focused time with your kids. Avoid the “How was school?” question that gets a curt response and really sit down with your child and talk about their day. Ask questions that search for details without probing. Simply ask, “Can you tell me more about that?”
2.It’s important for kids to know you care about their opinions, ideas, beliefs and points of view especially when you may not agree with them. Learn to have conversations without judgments. Listen attentively before adding your point of view. Then discuss alternative ways to look at things.
Help Make Your Kids into Thinking People
1. Promote critical thinking in your child, just like you do at work. Help them learn there are lots of ways to look at things ‘outside of the box.’
2. If you have daily conversations that last at least 20 minutes each day you will find that your child or teen begins to confide in you. You will hear how they think about their worries and problems that they’ve kept from you because of your busy life.
3.Promote the idea of learning for its own sake not just to get good grades or win competitions. Encourage reading and read to them on a daily basis. Discuss current events and help them see the complexities in every day events.
4.As you discuss current events with teenagers, you will give them a sense outside their own lives. Give them a chance to get the breadth of the world outside themselves.
Focus on Your Kids Achievements so They Know You’re Proud of Them
1. When your child shares their achievements. Instead of just saying, “Good job” be specific about what they have done so they know why you are proud of them. The particulars go a long way in reinforcing their progress in what interests them.
2. Ask your kids to tell you about their goals. Give them the idea of planning for future achievements whether it’s a school project due in a week or a longer term interest. Google with them about task. Learn what appeals to them and help them gather materials for future accomplishments.
Promote Learning for Its Own Sake.
1.Develop the idea of learning for its own sake not just to get good grades or win competitions. Encourage reading and read to them on a daily basis. Discuss current events and help them see the complexities in politics at a level they can understand.
2.As you discuss current events with teenagers, you will give them a sense outside their own lives. Give them a chance to get the breadth of the world outside themselves.
3.Help them see there is learning way beyond what they are directed to learn in school. Watch documentaries on T.V. and on line and discuss interesting youtubes.
Include Your Kids in Your Work Life
1.Talk about your work, so your kids feel included. Tell them about things you are doing in a way they can understand. This brings them into your work day rather than feel they are outside the purview of what you do so assiduously.
2.Help them learn from you as a model when there are personality clashes at work. This helps them learn socialization skills by modeling ways to negotiate positively with others who you may not like or approve of in their approaches to problems.
3.Teach them ways to go about solving problems such as how to set goals and plan incremental steps to reach them. See if you can find work examples that they can comprehend at their level of development.
4.By sharing your accomplishments as well as your toleration of mistakes and even failures, they will learn how to cope with frustrations and disappointments.
Your Ultimate Goal: Build the Parent-Child Bond
1.Even though you don’t have a lot of time with your kids, by sharing all I have suggested above you will bond with your kids.
2.Help them know you seriously care about their thoughts, ideas, opinions, and imaginings without judgment or even advice. Be a patient, committed listener whom they can trust.
3.This will lead to their sharing problems and worries that you can help them gain insight about. Take your time with this. Don’t rush in with advice. Step back and consider what troubles them and listen carefully to whatever they are going through. Don’t interrupt their stories about themselves until they are clearly finished. Then show them you understood what they said by paraphrasing what they shared. Be a good sounding board not only an advice giver.
If you can follow some or all of these suggestions, you will find that despite the limited time you have with your children, you will find pleasure in them and develop faith in them. They need to know that you love them unconditionally not only based on their merits. This kind of love lasts a life time.
Laurie Hollman, Ph.D., is a psychoanalyst and author of Unlocking Parental Intelligence: Finding Meaning in Your Child’s Behavior found on Amazon and wherever books are sold. Visit her website for more insights: www.lauriehollmanphd.com.
Originally published at medium.com