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Bonding with older child

Bonding with older childOne way I maintain a bond with my almost 7th grade son . . . . . .

As my child grew from baby to toddlerhood and then into his primary years at school, it was fairly easy to keep a strong bond. Our relationship consisted of lots of hugs, cuddles, playing together, eating and more eating, going to the park, and in general, just being present. Now that my son is in middle school, I had to change my tactics. Hugs and cuddles are not necessarily appreciated by tweens and teens, especially in public.

I have always taken an interest in what my children are doing in school, in sports, and in any extra-curricular activity they do. I I have been more of a supporter rather than an active player in the subject. Then, when my son entered 4th grade the game changed and I became an active participant. My son became passionate about reading. He was always an avid reader, but it got kicked up a notch in 4th grade. It all started with Roald Dahl’s Matilda. My son had to read it for school and was studying the details of the story. I had read James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl when I was a kid and really enjoyed it. My son asked if I had read Matilda. I had not and he asked me if I would be interested in reading it. I said sure. This started our wonderful adventure of reading the same books.

Over the last few years, because of my son, I have read the entire Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney, Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan, The Conch Bearer by Divakaruni, The Hatchet by Gary Paulsen, Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John and most recently Totally Joe by James Howe to name just a few. Each book has opened by eyes to the nuances of a tween’s life. In addition, my son and I can discuss aspects of a book or story. Totally Joe for example is about a 7th grader writing an alpha-biography throughout the school year. The main character presents himself with entries from A to Z. The book explores how Joe (the main character) comes to terms with being gay as well as falling in love, breaking up, and learning to stand up for himself. I am so glad that my son and I had this relationship of reading the same books so that we could discuss this one as well. Through our relationship, I have influenced my son’s reading as well.

Through my suggestions, he has read Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin as well as classics such as The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupery and The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.

I continue to support my children in their individual endeavors but feel happy that I am an active participant in this one passion of my son’s. I am excited to find out what books he will want to read in the next couple of years and am happy that we continue to have this bond as he grows through middle school. I also realize that as he enters high school and college, I will have to grow as well and find other ways in which to bond.

Bonding with older child