Getting Dirty Together Can Keep a Family Together – Unplug for Better Relationships
SmileNotes By Sharon Scott, LPC, LMFT
Just last night I was reminded once again about kids’ most common request they make to me during a counseling session: can you please get my Mom or Dad off the phone, computer, ipad, etc.
And this was by a 15 year old who would like some more attention. She really needs it, too, as her parents are separated and the home is in chaos. Technology can be fun to many people (I’m not one of them though, as I find it impersonal and wasting my time).
So what did I suggest? Their assignment was to “get dirty.” Here in Texas we are having many warm days scattered among the cold. The shrubs and trees are assuming it’s Spring and are starting to bud out. The bulbs are blooming showing their faces to the sun. This caused me to go to my local nursery yesterday and buy a flowering dogwood tree and some tangerine crossvine. So I told my clients that I wanted them to go to the nursery and either buy seeds or some small plants and plant them in their beds.
Planting either a flower or vegetable garden can be so cathartic! It involves discussing what you want (colors, height, hardiness, evergreen or not), shopping for those items, planting and finally regular attention to water and weed the area planted. There is a lot of fun interaction there. The results are beautiful—not only the flowers or vegetables resulting, but the closeness that can come from a joint, fun project.
So, depending on where you live and the weather, I hope you can soon “get dirty” with your children!
Copyright © 2013, Sharon Scott. No reproduction without written permission from author.
P.S. Please see my other column, Counselor’s Corner.
The guide for parents/educators on how to peer-proof children and teens is Peer Pressure Reversal: An Adult Guide to Developing a Responsible Child, 2nd Ed.
Her popular book for teens, How to Say No and Keep Your Friends, 2nd Ed., empowers kids to stand out,not just fit in!
A follow-up book for teens, When to Say Yes! And Make More Friends, shows adolescents how to select and meet quality friends and, in general, feel good for doing and being good.
Sharon also has a charming series of five books for elementary-age children each teaching an important living skill and "co-authored" with her savvy cocker spaniel Nicholas who makes the learning fun.Their book on managing elementary-age peer pressure is titled Too Smart for Trouble.