The other morning as Michael was talking with me about what he’d like to do this summer together, I had to smile. He has changed so much yet the important things are still remaining there. Michael is a kid who likes to go out places and experience things. When he was little it was playing in parks, then it became going to stores, now as a tween his love of navigating and exploring driving around new neighborhoods and places in our city has become what he wants to do most. He is not interested in playing games with me like when he was a child with figurines, and will only halfheartedly kick his soccer ball with me, but driving, wow, does he get excited when he talks about doing that. I was worried as Dad and I started losing our importance as fun beings to him and friends took precedence that the bond we had established would suffer too. There are things now he will say that I don’t want to tell you. But, he still shares most of his school day willingly when he comes home WITHOUT me having to drag it out of him. 🙂 Still, he will ask me if we can spend time driving together. This, I now realize, is Michael’s new way to bond with Dad and I.
He still enjoys bike rides and walks, long ones on busy streets, but the appeal of the car is that he has planned out the route in advance navigating on Google Maps and I’m sure feels in control and excited to see that he can find his way around. I, for my part, am happy that I still have a way to bond with and reach my exceptional son. Dad and I always leave the communication lines open and Michael knows he can tell us anything. I remind him of this, that there is nothing he cannot share with us. This has particularly come in handy when puberty hit and he will ask questions about sex and sexuality openly which is good. I am happy that we can both be passionate with him about his interest, even though he LOVES being stuck in traffic, and me, well, not so much. It’s really important for parents to keep the communication lines open so they know where their child’s interests are and see how they support that interest in order to continue the bond they have with their child. If you are not sure what your child is interested in, here are some things to keep in mind:
1) What videos do they like to watch
2) What music piques their interest
3) Are they art lovers or sports fanatics
4) Which friends are they hanging out with and what are their interests
4) What movies or books do they like
All of these things can help you see into your exceptional tween’s (like any tween’s) mind a little more clearly, and help you bond more easily. In the end though, the most important thing is being physically present for them at predictable times of the day (meal time, bed time, morning), and ready and able to talk or listen to them. If kids sense that, they will open up and be more willing to bond, even children for whom it is more challenging. Until next time.