The second connection challenge is focused on how you relate to your daughter. It’s fundamental to having a deep, positive connection, and it’s profoundly impactful yet incredibly simple.
I want you to keep track of the little things you do and say that make your daughter feel loved and feel connected with you, and actually count the total positive interactions you have. Do you remember when your teenager was a baby? A toddler? A preschooler? If you were like most parents you would hug, squeeze, tickle, caress, and touch that precious little angel as much as you could. Her skin was so soft. And she would smile when she felt your touch.
Science tells us that touch is a remarkable way to increase a feeling of connection with someone. Consensual, gentle, loving touch from parent to child increases oxytocin, dopamine, and other feel-good brain chemicals. It can even increase immune system function, reduce anxiety and stress, and have additional wellbeing benefits.
Once our children move into school, and particularly high-school, the frequency of those precious ‘touching’ connections reduces. We don’t hold hands so much as we did when they were little. We don’t cuddle big kids as often or as fully as we do little kids. We are less likely to squeeze our daughter’s elbow as we walk past her in the corridor.
Your challenge today is to find as many ways as you can to reach out and physically touch your daughter. Squeeze her hand and tell her it means you love her. Ask if you can brush her hair like you used to when she was little. Hold hands as you walk through the shops or drive to school. And hug.
Hug when she walks into the kitchen to start the day. Hug when you say goodbye as she goes to school. Hug when she comes home. And hug when it’s bed-time.
Touch has powerful capacity to connect and unite us.