Having fun together helps build relationships within the family. Sometimes parents have difficulty letting go and just enjoying the moment. Stress of financial problems, work, and household responsibilities get in the way of just having fun. Sometimes only one of the parents seems devoted to spending time having fun while the other parent gains the reputation of the “serious parent” who drives the kids to soccer practice yet never kicks around the ball “just for fun.” It’s important for the entire family to spend time together just enjoying one another.
Parents sometimes get very caught up in the need to teach their kids. When a child tells the parent about an interaction with a friend, instead of listening, the parent starts offering advice on how to handle the situation. Perhaps the child just wanted to talk and was not looking for a counselor. Or perhaps a parent playing basketball starts to give a child “pointers” on how to play better. The parent then becomes the coach, instead of having fun.
It’s great to teach children new things and to find teachable moments to help them learn life lessons. However, constantly offering them help and advice can feel frustrating to a child. It can also cause them to feel like they are constantly performing and you are the judge. Give them permission to just have fun as well without any hidden agenda.
Find fun things to do with your child and spend time as a family, just having a good time. Go for a picnic, take a bike ride, explore a new place, or play a game. Focus on having fun with each other and try not to offer advice to your children, or your spouse, unless absolutely necessary, such as a safety issue. Otherwise, try to let go of the fact that the child may not be using the greatest soccer kicking technique in the world. Instead, laugh and have a good time. Your child is far more likely to remember the fun the family had together rather than your advice on how to do things.