Expert Parenting Advice
Practical parenting tips and advice from experts around the world

A confession about my daughter

A simple two-step technique for creating a deeper bond and connection with your children.

Here's a confession: my daughter has been wearing the same dress for 10 days in a row.

It is a beautiful baby blue "Princess Elsa" dress, with lacey cape and everything.

At least, it was blue and beautiful. In the past 2 weeks, the dress has gone through a lot. Puddles, playgrounds, tree climbing, eating. Everything that an active 4 year old girl can throw at it.

Now, the dress is stained brown with mud and red with ketchup. It is dirty and stained, but that doesn't seem to bother my daughter at all.

Every morning it is the same story - I try to convince her the dress is too dirty, and she refuses to budge. "I want my Elsa dress," she shouts, stamping her feet.

Finally, running late and not having the energy to fight, I give up and give her the dress, feeling a little bit more embarrassed each time.

But enough is enough. Tomorrow I am going to wash that dress, no matter what.

I know she is going to be unhappy, because she is very passionate about that dress.

The thing is, children can be very passionate about their interests. But that is a good thing, because engaging with them through their interests is a great opportunity to build a deeper bond and connection with them.

When I asked Rebecca Rolland, author of The Art of Talking with Children, her best advice for getting kids to listen and cooperate, she said that the key to ensuring easier cooperation is to build a deeper connection with your child by getting them to talk to you about what interests them, and actually listening to what they are saying.

The thing is really to realize that when a child feels as if you’re bonded, they want to help you meet your goals also. Set up a longer-term foundation now for more cooperation in the future too.

Rebecca Rolland

In the interview, Rebecca shares her two step process she calls "Curious Waiting" to connect with your child. It is a simple process that you can use anytime to encourage your child to start and lead conversations with you.

By using this technique, you show your child that you are engaged with them and interested in what they are interested in. This is great for building a deeper connection with your child, or as a way to kickstart a more difficult or deeper conversation.