Parenting Series: Improving Your Relationship with Your Son (Part 1 of 4)

By contributing writer, Joshua Kissee

Worry not about the high cost of building men…but be concerned about the high cost of failing to do so. Texas Prison Museum Wall Poster

worry not about the cost imageSo you’ve heard a hundred New Year’s resolutions available.  I even recently posted an article on ManBuilders.com  about Making a Commitment Pledge to Your Son. Your time is one of the most valuable things you can give to your son.

That’s great and motivational, but now what?

The mission of ManBuilders.com is to provide practical articles aiding parents & those with the responsibility of raising boys with the tools they need.

In this first of four part series on improving the relationship with your son, I’ll focus on reviewing your current schedule, looking for gaps/weaknesses, and getting organizing in preparation for strategic scheduling with your son.

In 2013, I’m planning on releasing the first book in a series providing practical guidance, real activities, skills, lessons, events, and ideas that can be used on your son’s journey in becoming a man. To get started, we are providing the framework that you apply right now with your son as you build him into a man.

Approach this as if you were completing a project or reaching a goal. How do you get there? Is it one big leap or many small advances?

Most often, it’s the little things we repeatedly do that builds up our son(s).

The Law of Proactive Scheduling will be your best friend and has been the single greatest secret in my tool chest for scoring victories with my sons. Here is the secret: Don’t just make the time, plan the time. Put it on the calendar and commit to doing it!

Tip 1: Review Your Current Schedule and Look for Gaps & Weaknesses

Do you have a schedule? Maybe you have not been this organized. I wasn’t and that’s okay. The irony is that I’m very organized in the workplace and often serve as a project manager leading a variety of information technology projects. I know what it takes to be organized when I wear my workplace hat. However, my Strategic Father hat was not nearly as organized and it needed to be.

Think about your recurring commitments in a month and ask yourself these questions:

  1. What does my work schedule normally look like? (e.g. Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
  2. What nights /days do I have commitments that I have to or really should attend? (e.g. Sports games, sports practices, community service, church, date nights, etc)
  3. What nights / days do I have commitments that I like to attend, but could drop if needed? (e.g. Hanging out with a friend,  thirsty Thursday, adult softball league, etc)
  4. When do I like to rest and unwind? (e.g. Sunday afternoons, Tuesday nights, etc)

After you have reviewed your schedule, look for areas where you have free time. If you have very little free time, think about what you could drop that is not benefiting the relationship with your son. Perhaps you’ve been MP900444333selfish in a certain area of your life. Replacing that selfish activity with quality time with your son is an investment that will pay long-term dividends.

Tip 2: Be Real

Seriously, be real. Let me explain.

You are not superman or superwoman. There are only so many hours in the day. When I attempt to find time slots that I could spend with my son and place them too close to work or other activities that keep me busy, I am more stressed because things happen and time runs over. Sometimes:

  • Youre are late coming home from work
  • You’ve spent too long at the store
  • Your son has poor behavior and requires a lot of time correcting him
  • You are just plain tired from doing something else. Period.

So be real. Don’t write down potential time slots as “free time” if they are stacked too close to other activities that might cause you to stress, be late, or otherwise let down your son. I have let down each of my five sons more than once and it’s a terrible feeling. Sometimes, things just happen and you can’t help it. Write down free time that has a good chance of really happening.

Take Action:

  • Low-tech. Buy a cheap, 22 x 17 inch calendar. The at-a-glance calendar is a great option and can be found for under $5 on Amazon.com. I recommend this calendar because the days have lines that you can write in easily.  It’s quick to use, cheap, and easy to come buy. No matter where you are in the world, this will work. No internet connection required.
  • Medium-tech. Use a calendar service such as Google Calendar, Microsoft Outlook, or Mozilla Sunbird. The Google Calendar and Mozilla Sunbird applications are free, web-based utilities that live in the cloud. Microsoft Outlook must be purchased, but can also be installed on your Mac, PC, tablet, or smart phone.
  • High-tech. If you have an Apple iPad or Android-based tablet, consider using a good calendar app. There are truly hundreds to choose from. However, my recommendation is to use the built-in calendar feature and synchronize this with your Google Calendar or Microsoft Outlook calendar. You can read Michael Hyatt’s How to Setup Google Calendar on Your iPhone as a quick and easy resource to get configured. This way you have both mobile and pc/mac access to your calendar with reminders if needed. A great article on using high-tech means to keep your life in sync is found on the Time Management Ninja website, titled 12 Apps to Keep Your Life in Sync and is worth a review.

In our next post, we will review the second in our four-part series, The Power of a One-on-One. The article will be filled with a variety of ideas you can start using immediately when spending your newly scheduled time with your son.

How do you find time in your schedule to meet with your son? Any tips to share with the community?

Josh Kissee

Joshua Kissee is a husband and father of five sons.  He writes at www.manbuilders.com

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