Welcome to Stuff I Learned Yesterday. My name is Darrell Darnell, I purchased front row seats for a Tommy Emmanuel concert last week, and I believe if you aren’t learning, you aren’t living. In today’s episode of Stuff I Learned Yesterday I share a lesson I learned from a conversation with my daughter.

Today’s Fun Fact of the Day: Today is Smile Power Day!

Here’s What I leaned yesterday.
For those of you who are parents, have you ever wondered if your kids are listening? Who am I kidding, of course you have. Sometimes it’s maddening.

There are times when my wife or I will tell our kids to do something only to hear them say they never heard us. I know that it’s possible to not hear someone even when they are in the same room, but I’m quite certain that there are times when my kids choose not to hear us, especially when we ask them to do something that they don’t want to do.

This isn’t the only thing that’s frustrating. There are numerous times where my kids have had to go to bed early as a punishment, but can’t even tell me what it is they did wrong when it comes time to go to bed. If they can’t remember what it is that got them in trouble, how do they expect to learn from it?

You may recall that we’ve had some behavioral issues with our daughter that has caused us to be concerned. There was a time that she would rather look foolish than to admit she’d made any kind of error. She was stubborn, rebellious, disrespectful, and selfish. And she didn’t seem to care.

In the past, when there was a particularly bad flare up, I would take her to breakfast. My thought was that she might be acting out in an attempt to get more attention. My hope was that by spending one-on-one time with her, I could help her get the attention she needed and help her with some of her behavioral issues. Each time we went to breakfast, it included a very purposeful time of discussing her behavior.

You may also recall that I made a very intentional effort this school year to walk Addison home from school nearly every day. I discovered that taking 10 minutes to walk her home each day had a very noticeable impact on our relationship. She began telling me more about her day, even telling me about boys that she thinks are cute. We shared a lot of laughs and goofy moments during those walks, and we even developed some inside jokes that we would laugh about at dinner while Kari and Coby just looked at us with blank stares. Our walks became a strong bonding time.

Her behavior did not suddenly get better though. What I noticed was that when she had an outburst, she began to act differently to my discipline. It wasn’t a noticeable difference at first, but after a while it was quite noticeable. After a while her outbursts became less frequent and her reaction to getting in trouble became much more appropriate.

Each month or so the men of our church get together and have breakfast. Addison has often asked why the women don’t get together for breakfast. I’m a little slow sometimes, so I just realized last week that her persistent questions about a ladies breakfast had a deeper meaning. She doesn’t see men’s breakfast as a time when the guys get to hangout. She sees men’s breakfast as a time when Colby gets to have a special breakfast with me. So last week I invited Addison to breakfast.

Here’s what I learned.

Addison really responds to spending quality time together. She likes one-on-one time and she doesn’t like to feel like someone else is getting special treatment. By taking time each day to walk and chat with her, I really made her feel special. By making her feel special, our bond grew stronger. By having a stronger bond, she responded more positively to my correction.

But that’s not all I learned.

Most nights after dinner we take a walk. Sometimes it’s just me and Colby, sometimes it’s just me and the kids, and sometimes the whole family comes along. One night last week Addison and I were out on the front lawn ready to head out on our walk, but we were waiting on the others to come outside and join us.

I asked Addison if she was looking forward to having breakfast together. She put her arms around me and gave me a hug. She said that she was very much looking forward to breakfast, but she wanted to know if there was something that I was going to be talking with her about. When I asked her what she meant, she said that all the other times we’d gone to breakfast also involved some sort of talk about her behavior.

I then pressed the issue further and asked her if she remember what we had spoken about during those breakfasts. Not all of them had been related to the same behavioral issue. She then rattled off 3 or 4 things that we had talked about at each of the breakfasts we’d taken. Honestly, I would not have been able to name off all the things we had talked about. You know what that means? She was listening after all.

Lastly, I learned that it’s important to spend one-on-one time with my kids not only when I want to have a one-on-one teaching session with them. It’s important to spend that time with them just to let them know that I enjoy being around them. It’s an important bonding time with them that will have numerous positive impacts on them and on our relationship.

When I told Addison that I wanted to have breakfast with her just to spend time with her and not because I had something specific to talk with her about, she lit up even more. It was a great time together and she really enjoyed her french toast.

I’m Darrell Darnell and this has been Stuff I Learned Yesterday.

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