Connecting with Your Kids
'Andy McNeilly has written a humble, human and practical guide for anyone wanting to be "a good enough parent." As his "good enough father," I continue to be sustained by his generosity and our mutual connection.
In this compact book, Andy offers simple and fun opportunities for families to explore and learn together, skills that will lead to a fuller and more satisfying life, for children and their parent.
You'll be glad you read this book. I know I was.'
Robert B McNeilly MBBS, CET,
The Milton H Erickson Institute of Tasmania
Have you noticed that some families seem to be like a happy party just walking along, and others are kind of tense and awkward? How some parents and kids seem to get along really well, and others are awkward and negative, reduced to just sharp commands to "hurry up" or "don't touch that."
It's not that one kind of parent doesn't love their kids just as much or work just as hard to feed and clothe and care for them, but more that they may not have found ways to be close, have fun, and share good times. Connection with our kids isn't some mystical thing, it's made up of shared activities and memories, often not the expensive ones but just stuff that happened.
Andy McNeilly realised early in his work as a primary teacher (and dad) that not all kids get along with their parents very well, and not all parents know what to do to have good times with their children. After all, what's the point of feeding, clothing and caring for kids if you still just don't get along, and they don't feel close to you and able to trust you. If they grow into teens, and then adults, who don't have much connection to you, and just drift away. How sad would that be?
The secret that Andy is happy to share is that there are thousands of things you can do with your kids, which are fun and helpful to building a good relationship. Don't be daunted by that, or by the pages of this book, into feeling that's just too much. This is a RECIPE book. Just one tasty "meal" from the activities in here can give you a really great time. Half a dozen of those might be all you need for a year!
And because our minds are good at knowing what works for us, just trust yourself to pick out one or two and make a start. You'll get your money's worth if even one of these ideas takes off with you and your children.
Sometimes as a parent, you feel stuck. Stuck for what to do, or what to say, or how to act. It's a terrible feeling, knowing there is something wise or clever or helpful needed, and you just don't know what that is.
These activities unstick you. You start to get more creative, and inventive, and get into a nice flow with your kids that spreads to other parts of your family's life. When I think back to my childhood sixty years ago (yes, shocking aye? And I look so YOUNG) I remember fun times with my mum or dad, doing stuff and feeling that the world and life were a wonderful place. Activities, conversations, projects, games, that are simple and may not even cost a cent.
Have fun with this book! Dive in somewhere, grab an idea, and give it a go.