You have heard me say it before, bonding with my children is not something that has come naturally or easily for me. I have spent many nights in tears, because of the struggle. You can read a little more on this in Confessions of An Adoptive Mom here.
The thing I have to remember is that I am still trying to get to know my kids. Some things that bug me about my children, is age appropriate that they do. The most eye-opening experience we had was when substituting for our son’s Sunday school class and again in his cub scouts group. All the boys his age act the same. I remember thinking, wow my son is not the only one who acts like this. In fact, I thought he was the best behave… yes I know he probably acts differently when I am not around.
I have spoken to many moms, who have told me that their kids sometimes drive them crazy and they gave birth to them! Talking to other moms and substituting in classes has helped me feel better about some of the frustration I experience.
Although we are still struggling with the bond, things are getting so much better. Isabel and I started doing mommy and me therapy sessions to strengthen our bond, which has been very beneficial for us both. During therapy sessions we play games and work on projects to help us understand each other a little better. Her therapist even gives me tips and tasks to do at home with the kids, which we love.
Here is something I learned about myself during therapy sessions. I was allowing the bonding part to overwhelm me so much that I forgot to just have fun with my kids. I was way to serious about things all the time. I sometimes have to remind myself to relax and let go.
Here are some tips to help bond with your children:
Tip # 1. Play with your kids – That is right. Get outside and play tag, hide and seek, laser tag, jump on the trampoline, and so forth. The point is have fun with them, let your kids see the kid side of you. I have shared that I believe I had Postpartum Depression and Post Adoption Depression Syndrome , you read more about these here. I have to admit that I times I have been paralyzed by stress and whatever my kids did just overwhelmed me even more. This state was absolutely awful. Playing with my kids, strengthens my bonds with my kids and it helps me relax a bit. It is a win-win all around.
Tip # 2. Joke around with your kids– My kids will be the first to tell you that I do not know how to joke around. They love to tell and hear jokes, unfortunately for them this mama does not know very many jokes. They did however, get a dad that likes to play jokes and is pretty goofy. Bryce is great at making everyone laugh! A couple of weeks ago after we put the kids to bed, Bryce came up with the idea to prank the kids. He printed off a picture of a spider, colored it, and taped it to the inside of their lamp. I have to say, he did try it out on me first. The spider on the lamp looked very realistic and creepy.
Bryce was so excited for the kids to wake up and see the spider, but I warned him that the kids wake up and are little zombies as they get ready for school. I was right, the kids did not notice the spider in the morning. Later that day, as the kids were getting ready for bed, they spotted the spider. They came up with a plan to get rid of the spider. You can watch the full prank below. I know, you might think we are mean, but what you do not see in the video is full family bonding. We all laughed so hard together that night. After the kids got over the initial shock of the spider, they thought it was so funny and could not believe that we got them in a joke. The rest of the night Isabel jokingly called Bryce a prankster. She kept saying things like, “Goodnight prankster” or “Ok prankster.” There is nothing like laughing together to strengthen family bonds.
Tip # 3. Work on Projects together- There is something about having a common goal and working together to achieve it that brings a family closer. We have worked on a couple of projects together. The first big one was creating Our House Whitehead Style. Elijah picked the song, Bryce and I worked on the lyrics, and everyone sang during our recording. All the kids love our song. It is still the most requested video and song by our kids, especially Ruthy! View our music video below.
Our most recent family project was working on Elijah’s Pinewood Derby Race for cub scouts. As soon as Elijah came home with his kit, research began. This was our family’s first Pinewood Derby. Bryce and Elijah worked on the project together. Elijah did most of the sanding and painting of the car. Brycen and Ruthy stayed close by Bryce and Elijah as they were working. Isabel, Brycen, Ruthy, and I were the cheerleaders throughout the project. Seriously Elijah’s car was pretty simple, but somehow we spent weeks on this project. Elijah Working on His Car
The day of the race, excitement was in the air. We arrived a little early, because we did not know what to expect. Bryce and Elijah finished last-minute adjustments to the car. They were not quite sure where to place the extra weight. As other cars started to arrive, the nerves started to hit. The other cars looked so fancy and well put together. As the races began, Elijah began to win each race. Wow, so exciting! You can watch Elijah’s Derby race below.
This was a fun project, because it helped build Elijah’s confidence. He got his first trophy! We told Elijah, if he works hard he can accomplish anything. This project has made me realize how important it is to celebrate each child. It is fun to do projects to celebrate each child as well as projects that involves each family member. Both are important!
I cannot wait to find new projects for our family members. Comment with ways you bond with your children!