Dating My Children
I once read that relationships can't experience growth in a group setting, and I agree with this. If you have more than one child, and especially if your clan is on the larger side, I highly recommend carving out individual time with each child from time to time.
Do you know that verse, "love covers a multitude of sins"? The same can be said for dating my children. Dating my children is one of the most effective parenting tactics I have in my bag. It is equally beneficial to parent and child.
Maybe a child has been acting out, or withdrawn, or generally off. Maybe a parent has been feeling uncharitable toward a child for whatever reason, or the two have been clashing. Maybe the other child(ren) have been requiring extra attention, and one could use some special time.
Whatever the scenario, taking a child on a date can cure a multitude of wrongs.
It doesn't need to be hard. It doesn't need to be planned far in advance, done on a schedule, or happen too regularly. It doesn't need to be elaborate or expensive; it can be a trip to the carwash or the farmer's market. (In fact, it's probably better to keep it simple.) What matters is the one-on-one time.
This is where the importance of being attached and attuned to our kids plays a huge role. When we're aware of what's going on, we can address needs as they crop up. As an INFJ, this is impossible for me not to do. But I think we're all wired to do it, if we just pay attention. Put down the phone (me included)!
This past weekend, Amelia and George had a cold and were tired/a little crabby. Eloise had already recovered from hers, and was asking about our weekend plans. I had been extra involved with the little ones, and feeling a little burned out from all the sickness.
Eloise and I walked down the street to our town's market and sat outside for lunch, and I think it was a relief for both of us to have a change of scenery and some time to recharge. Historically, this has had a trickle-down effect, too, and when one is given some special time, she is extra kind and helpful to her siblings, which makes the whole household happier and run more smoothly.
Sometimes the date is more for us than the kids; having multiple children can cause the "bulk effect" phenomenon, and when things are off with one, it's easy to generalize and treat them all like offenders. (Hopefully that's not just me.) Separating them out and treating and seeing them as individuals is a good way to gain perspective.
Do you date your children? If not, and if you give it a try, I'd love to hear how it goes!