People are having the hardest time trying to find a healthy balance. My biggest challenge was making sure I spent enough time with my family to fulfill their needs. Children need time with their parents, touch is a basic human need. When I wasn’t spending enough time with my kids I noticed a trend, they would start rebelling and acting up, they needed, and wanted me around. Adults also have needs and react in different ways. My kids just wanted me, and nothing else, their basic needs were not being met, and that was the only way they could let me know.
The mom in this video knows what she is doing, even though she is busy working a lot, she MAKES TIME at meals to REALLY CONNECT with her son. I remember my family used to always unite our prayers by holding hands, and doing a go around of short prayer, together before meals. It was an opportunity to connect, and learn what was going on in the whole families minds as they prayed. When parents have no choice, and have to work long hours away from home we can end up feeling like failures, guilt can creep in. Mealtimes used positively can alleviate some of the guilt we go through. Then we are taking positive action on all levels, fulfilling basic human needs and helping the whole family.
Here is a list with of some easy ways mealtimes can be used:
1. Touch Promotes Bonding!
By holding hands during grace, and prayer the physical need for touch, and mental, emotional connection between parent and child is met.
2. Talk To God In Prayer Together.
Spiritual needs are being met by talking to God as we draw closer to him in prayer he draws closer to us, and when two, or more pray he is present. That is powerful!
3. Open Up Communication.
Mealtimes can be used to open lines of communication. Sharing happens when we open up and talk. Sometimes we can communicate better when we are addressing a third person, rather than our families, it can be easier. For example “I pray dear God help me with my test that I am having a hard time studying for, and bless Jamie so he stops bullying me.” Now the parent knows what is going on with their child, and can help.
4. Use The Opportunity To Affirm Each Other.
The need for affirmation, and approval can be met with an enthusiastic, Amen! at the end of the prayer from parents and siblings. Don’t interrupt the prayer just listen, then calmly address the problem in conversation during the meal. A parent could say, “Sounds like your having a bit of a hard time, can you tell me a little more about the bullying?” Listen, try not to judge, make it a safe, intimate place of sharing where others can give suggestions respectfully to help each other.
5. Encourage Lingering Around The Table, Don’t Just Rush Off, Invest yourself.
Encourage lingering around the table, a healthy dessert can be a great way to do that but make sure you keep those lines of communication open, pull all the family into the sharing and communicating.
6. Share And Give From The Heart, Nurture.
Work with your family from where they are, don’t force issues if they are not ready to talk (unless you think it is a serious issue, then use discretion). Instead use that time as a productive time of bonding, sharing, meeting their needs, and teaching good values, it may be the only time some families get so make the most of it.
7. Make family Time Fun.
Lastly a great way to end a meal is with a wholesome joke. Allow all of the family to take turns getting and saying one. The reason for this is when we leave somewhere smiling, and happy we want to go back because it was fun.