Building Rapport & Decreasing Conflict- Parenting From Heart Series
Building rapport with our children helps to decrease the conflict and gain a true understanding between one another. It allows our kids to trust us and come to us with their concerns and challenges.
Let’s set the stage here….
Suppose you come home from work after a long day. You’re tired and just want to rest for a few minutes, but your young child wants to play. She wants your attention because she hasn’t been with you all day. Here we have 2 choices:
We could spend time with our child right then, or we could simply say, “Oh, honey, I want to play with you, but I’m very tired right now. If you give me a little time to myself for 10-20 minutes, then we’ll do something special together.”
Which would serve you better?
In the first approach, we would be with the child begrudgingly, and she would feel it.
In the second approach, we would be much more present because we took the time to rejuvenate.
If the child is young, you may have to stay in the same room while you rest. If she keeps bugging you, you may have to show her where the hands on the clock need to be, and then tell her that the time will pass much faster if she plays by herself for a while.
Children don’t want to be in conflict anymore than we do. If we detach from the pending conflict– and observe the situation from a distance, we will better know how to resolve it. We could approach the child with a feeling of love and access to our wisdom.
When the emotions of the moment die down a bit, and we take a step back, we tend to see things in a different light. Our state of mind shifts to a higher level of consciousness. Then, together, in a non-threatening way, we are better equipped to work out solutions.
When we disengage from situations and have access to our wisdom, we are better able to communicate that wisdom. The pathway for this is communication is called rapport.
Rapport is the feeling of closeness. It’s a feeling of understanding from our child. And it’s the path to drawing out the best in our kids.
The more rapport we both feel, the more our kids will come to us with their concerns and challenges. The more rapport we feel, the more they will confide in us.
If they feel guilt tripped by us, we lose rapport.
If they feel afraid of our reaction, we lose rapport.
If they’re afraid we won’t understand and will just come down hard on them, we lose rapport.
Smaller children are always coming and telling us things naturally. This is what we want them to continue to do as they get older. We want them to discuss things with us. They only lose that desire when we lose rapport.
The degree of closeness we feel in the moment is the potential we have for influencing our children positively in that moment.
With rapport our kids listen to us better.
With rapport, our kids think (and feel & act) better around us.
The secret to rapport is being committed to “happy endings”. And this doesn’t mean letting the child have their way, or getting our way.
It means we both need to be reasonably satisfied with the end results. It means that we are committed to working it through to a positive resolution, no matter how long it takes. It also means that you BOTH feel OK about what happens.
You may not be able to agree on everything. On some issues you may have to agree to disagree if you can’t reach a resolution.
But if you are truly committed to satisfaction and a feeling of resolve on both sides, and hang in there until your kids walk away from almost every interaction feeling OK, rapport stays high.
Rapport is the foundation for listening. It’s the pathway to teaching and discipline.