3 Ways To Connect To Your Children

Author of 5 books, podcaster, parent trainer, husband and father.

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A few weeks ago, my family and I were fortunate to head east the day after Christmas and spend 4 days in Ohio with my wife's family. To say that it was relaxing and rejuvenating would be an understatement. I actually disconnected from my email for several days. I decided before Christmas break that this would be an extremely necessary act for my sake, but mostly my family's sake

It wasn’t easy, but, I loved it. For the first time in many months I was able to “unplug” from the usual hustle of work and life and just be in the moment. On the second morning I was sitting in the living room of my in-law’s house when out came a tidal wave of little people. They jumped in my lap and wrapped their tiny hands around my neck. For the next 30 minutes I snuggled with them on the sofa and waited for daybreak. Priceless!

I would’ve missed it had I been consumed by email, text messages, or my twitter feed.

As I sat still, taking in the moment, breath completely gone, the thought came to me- “In this new year, I want to connect more than ever to my family.” This is more important than anything. But it’s really hard for me to do. Sometimes, I’m really bad at putting my devices down and really connecting to my family. How in the world could I connect in the midst of everything I have to do in life? Ever asked this question? If so, you’re not alone! (It’s one of the biggest reasons this blog has the word “Confession” in it’s title! :-))

Here are a few ways I believe you and I can better connect to our children-

1. Make the choice to connect.

The truth is- there isn’t some secret formula or mathematical equation (which is good because I failed algebra) to connecting to your kids. It really comes down to choice. You must choose to put that iPhone down. You must choose to get off your computer and hang out with your family. You must make the choice to connect to your kids. It’s 97% choice, 3% know-how.

2. Lead, don’t lecture.

My wife and I are natural lecturers. She’s from a long line of educators and I was raised by 2 type-A personalities. We can talk your ear off. Plus, being in ministry, we’re both used to teaching and leading. You get the idea. We recently discovered that when talking things over with our children, especially in discipline and correction, we tend to lecture. We do this for really one reason- we want a reaction. Don’t we all as parents? Nothing angers a well-intentioned parent more than when their child gives them the “I don’t care” look. So, we resort to lecturing in order to get a response. The problem is that lecturing almost always causes a child to zone-out.

Think of that college class where the professor spent an hour lecturing. How much do you remember? Children are changed and corrected more by parents who lead them, not those who lecture. The class from college that I remember the most, and was most impacted by, was the class where the professor “led” me to New York City to teach me about urban ministry. He didn’t lecture. You can lead your children in times where discipline is necessary and in times where there are lessons to be taught.

I think the biggest reason I resort to lecturing is that I am connected to so many other things (other people, my phone, my email, social networks, appointments, etc.), and not fully to my kids at times. So when they respond to my direction in a way that frustrates me, I make up for the lost time by lecturing. That might sound strange, but I think we naturally resort to this when we are disconnected in attempt to balance both worlds. The problem is: we can’t be in fully in both worlds. And we cannot manage both worlds simultaneously. Disconnection from work world and engagement into family world is key.

3. Stop thinking that you have a bunch of time.

I’m not a panicky person. I don’t have many worries. But lately it seems my kids are growing faster than I want them to. The daughter I once held tightly in my arms as a baby can almost look my wife in the eye. Scary! And don’t get me started on their “interest” in boys! We get into this mode of thinking that time waits for us. Guess what? It doesn’t. They’re growing, and fast! My challenge to myself and to all of you is this- don’t waste time! Take advantage of every moment you have with your children. Their childhood will be over, and they’ll be heading off to college before you know it.

It’s a tough challenge but it’s one we all need. Personally, I struggle with this a lot. I bet many of you do as well. I’ve found that this is more of a tension we have to manage than a problem we can solve.

Question: What are some other ways you can connect to your kids?  

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Mike and Kristin Berry are the Co-Founders of The Honestly Adoption Company and have been parents for nearly two decades. They are the authors of six books, and the host of The Honestly Adoption Podcast.

Sarah Gray

Sarah Gray is the executive assistant to Mike and Kristin Berry. And she is the best in the land. In addition to providing a warm and friendly response to the many emails our company receives on a weekly basis, she also manages Mike and Kristin’s speaking and meeting schedules, and makes sure that team events go off without a hitch.

Nicole Goerges

Nicole Goerges is a Content Contributor & Special Consultant for The Honestly Adoption Company. She works with Mike and Kristin as a recurring co-host for the Honestly Adoption Podcast, and co-host of Kitchen Table Talks, exclusive video content for Oasis Community, along with Kristin. She is a fellow adoptive mom, and former foster parent.

Matt McCarrick

Matt McCarrick is the Content Production Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. If you’ve loved listening to our podcast, or enjoyed any of the videos trainings we’ve published, you have Matt to thank. He oversees all of our content production, from video edits, to making sure the tags are correct on YouTube, to uploading new videos to Oasis, to hitting publish on a podcast episode, he’s a content wonder!

Karen Anderson

Karen Anderson is the Community Engagement Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. She spends the bulk of her time interacting with, and helping, people through our various social media channels, as well as providing support for Oasis Community members through chat support or Zoom calls. In the same spirit as Beaver, Karen is also passionate about connecting with parents and making them feel loved and supported. Karen is also an FASD trainer and travels often, equipping and encouraging parents.

Beaver Trumble

Beaver Trumble is the Customer Care Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. Chances are, if you have been in need of technical support, or forgotten your password to one of our courses, you have interacted with Beaver. He is an absolute pro at customer care. In fact, he single-handedly revolutionized our customer care department last year. Beaver is passionate about connecting with parents and making them feel loved and encouraged.

Kristin Berry

Kristin Berry is the co-founder of, and Chief Content Specialist for, The Honestly Adoption Company. She spends most of her time researching and connecting with guests for our podcast, as well as direction, designing and publishing a lot of the content for our social media channels, blog and podcast. She loves to connect with fellow parents around the world, and share the message of hope with them.

Mike Berry

Mike Berry is the co-founder of, and Chief Marketing Specialist for, The Honestly Adoption Company. He spends the bulk of his time and energy designing and building many of the resources you see within our company, as well as social media and email campaigns. His goal is to use media as a means to encourage and equip parents around the world. He is also the co-host of The Honestly Adoption Podcast.