Have you ever heard the expression "she has a screw loose"? It means she's crazy. I understand how that term came about because I had a screw loose.
Actually it was several screws and they were on one of my kitchen cabinet doors. At least they were until I decided to have a midnight snack earlier this week. As soon as I opened the cabinet door all four of them decided to jump ship and the door fell right off and hit the floor. It was crazy! It made so much noise that it woke my daughter who came running to see if I had fallen.
I was speechless. We use that cabinet multiple times every day. I wasn't aware that there was a problem with it. Later, as I relayed the story to my sister, my daughter interjected that she knew the screws were loose. She even said she had tightened them and she thought I knew about it. It was all so strange. For a moment I felt like the one with a screw loose.
Guess what I spent the next afternoon doing? You know I checked the screws on every hinge and knob in the kitchen. The door is going to be rehung this week.
Our relationships can be like that cabinet door. We take for granted that they are ok because we interact with them every day, but we don't really take the time to look at them. That's bad when it happens with our spouse or another adult. It's worse when we let it happen with our children. With our busy lives it's easy to assume everything is fine. We want everything to be good. We certainly don't need to go looking for trouble.
What we need to do is to make sure that our relationships with our children are close enough so that we know when something isn't right, and so they feel safe enough to share their lives with us. That can be tough as they head into the tween or teen years. If they're not sharing the good things in their lives with us, they're not likely to share the difficult things either.
Do you feel like there's a screw loose in your relationship with your child? You can help prevent the door from falling off in your relationship and build a stronger relationship with your child in several ways.
- Pay attention. Are his friends, interests, or habits changing? If so, is it because he's maturing, or has something else caused the change? Change is not necessarily a bad thing, but you should note a shift from a long-standing preference to something new.
- Have fun with your child. Show your interest in him. You may feel like you don't understand the games he plays, but I bet he would enjoy showing you. Revive old traditions if they have fallen by the wayside, such as a game of horse on the driveway, or a trip to a baseball game. Or start some new fun traditions.
- Talk with him and pray with him. If communication isn't what it should be, it's ok to start by letting him know that you're always available if he wants to talk. And make sure he is aware that you are praying for him. My daughters hear me pray for them regularly, but were still amazed to learn that I pray for them in my personal prayers as well.
As you draw closer to your child you'll find him drawing closer to you. My prayer is that you won't find a screw loose in your relationship.
From my parent's heart to yours,
Joy Goodman is a mom whose mission is to encourage parents and to celebrate joys of being a parent.