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Discipling children: Spending one-on-one time

December 2nd, 2011 / 8 Comments

(This is the continuation of the series on Discipling Our Children.)

If you are not an only child, perhaps you have felt that your parents loved your siblings more than you. Or maybe you were the one loved more.

Now that you are the parent, you know that parents have enough love to go around, and you merely love each child differently. But unfortunately, children don’t see it that way.

The best way to dispel that perception is to spend one-on-one time with each child.  By doing so, you strengthen the relationship with each one, understand more deeply their needs so that you can disciple them accordingly.

Let me make it clear that the one-on-one time is not for rebuking or for lecturing.  Let’s say you schedule to go out to McDonald’s once a month with your son/daughter.  If you use that time to criticize them about their poor study habits, what do you think will happen next month for your date together?  He/she will not be very enthusiastic, to say the least, and will in fact dread the very thought of spending time with you.

The way to spend one-on-one time is to put it on your calendar to go out with each of your children each month – to just hang out.  Enjoy each other’s company, enjoy the food, have a few laughs, tell them about your childhood.  This will open their heart for you to speak into their lives during other teachable moments.

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  1. It’s so true that as a parent you suddenly see so many things you’ll never get as a child. One on one time is great for dispelling the favouritism myth and is so different to family time. I’ve always said we’re a different family when you change the mix, and in some ways it’s true. People behave differently in different contexts, and getting to know your kid one to one is quite different to being with them in the family. And like you say builds bonds you may need in tougher times.

  2. yes, when you spend time one on one, kids often show a deeper side.

  3. This is a great idea. If one child is invited to a party or a playdate, I try to spend time one-on-one with the other child doing something fun. It’s nice to have some special time together.

  4. This is such great advice for a parent with multiple children. I know when I was little, my one on one time with my mom was always grocery shopping. We would go together and try to decide the most delicious meals for everyone. It was so much fun for me (no wonder I like cooking and baking now!) and I got my mom to myself. I do think getting to vary up the activities would have been nice though; I do wonder how my mom spent time with my other sisters. Do you have any suggestions for when the kids really just want to stay together and all go out?

  5. This is also good for siblings with big age gap. My daughter is 12 and my son is 7, and they have different interests.

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  7. I agree. A one-on-one time is also a way to fill their (and our) emotional tank. As Stuart commented, being with them in the family is quite different to being with each of them in one-to-one time.

  8. Yes, I totally agree with you. Time is very important. It is very rewarding to spend time with each of your children individually for you to build a close relationship with each other.


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