Develop Emotional Intimacy With Your Kids

By Randy Wilson
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email
The emotional side of relationships don't just happen. Here's how to be intentional about building a closer connection with your family.

“Hurry and intimacy are two entirely different things. What our children will remember most about their childhood when they grow older are two thingshow much love was in the home, and how much time you spent with them.” — Richard Swenson

I want to live my life with no regrets, especially with no relational regrets. Investing in the hearts of my bride and children should be my number one priority as I plan my to-do list. The dichotomy of responsibilities verses relationships is part of the reality of living intentionally and intimately.

There are so many things that can distract us from building emotionally/spiritually intimate relationships. Richard Swenson observes, “It’s the pace of life that destroys and derails living from the heart.” Then we get so tired that we think we deserve giving our time to entertainment, just to unwind. We also give our children over to mindless entertainment by default, because we are too exhausted to invest in their hearts.

Investing time to build intimacy requires that we unplug from distractions. We can cultivate intimacy through something as simple as eye contact. Looking our children directly in their eyes when they speak to us communicates volumes to them about their worth. Our children know when we are truly listening. I have heard it said that focused attention is more powerful than words of praise. Jesus was a master at “beholding people.” To behold someone speaks of direct gaze, straight into their souls. I don’t ever get a picture of Christ grunting “uh-uh” as He answered people’s questions, while being distracted.

Intimacy requires entering into our children’s worlds. One way to do this is to ask our children questions that take us to the deepest places of their hearts and then listen for what God is saying and revealing about their hearts. Consider questions like the following:

  • What is your greatest fear right now?
  • What do you worry about?
  • What do you need more of from Mom and Dad?
  • What do you get really angry about?
  • What do you get really sad about?
  • What are your greatest dreams?
  • What are your greatest joys?

Another doorway to intimacy is planning. Plan time into your schedule to express how much you value each of your children. When we rearrange work schedules, tee times, softball or ministry opportunities to flow best with the needs of our family, our children will feel valued. Lisa and I have spent many years saying “no” to opportunities that would have scattered our children instead of bring us closer together as a family. There are many wonderful things we have said “no” to in order to build memories; a life-style of togetherness. As our older children look back, they now thank us for the family time we chose over other opportunities our children thought were important at the time.

Intimate relationships don’t just happen. It’s important to be intentional about truly connecting with our children on a consistent basis. I’m motivated by Chuck Colson’s words:

“As I think back on my own life, my biggest regret is not spending more time with my children. Making family your top priority means standing against a culture where materialism and workaholism are rampant. It means realizing that you may not advance as fast in your career as some of your colleagues — at least for a few years. It means being willing to accept a lower standard of living…knowing you’re doing the right thing for your children, giving them the emotional security they’ll draw on for the rest of their lives.”

There is a peace in life that comes from having no regrets. Let’s count the cost and invest in our families first. The world will wait.

Copyright 2007, Generations of Light. Used by permission.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email

You May Also Like

Thank you [field id="first_name"] for signing up to get the free downloads of the Marrying Well Guides. 

Click the image below to access your guide and learn about the counter-cultural, biblical concepts of intentionality, purity, community and Christian compatibility.

(For best results use IE 8 or higher, Firefox, Chrome or Safari)

To stay up-to-date with the latest from Boundless, sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter.

If you have any comments or questions about the information included in the Guide, please send them to [email protected]

Click here to return to Boundless

Focus on the Family

Thank you for submitting this form. You will hear from us soon. 

The Daily Citizen

The Daily Citizen from Focus on the Family exists to be your most trustworthy news source. Our team of analysts is devoted to giving you timely and relevant analysis of current events and cultural trends – all from a biblical worldview – so that you can be inspired and assured that the information you share with others comes from a reliable source.

Alive to Thrive is a biblical guide to preventing teen suicide. Anyone who interacts with teens can learn how to help prevent suicidal thinking through sound practical and clinical advice, and more importantly, biblical principles that will provide a young person with hope in Christ.

Bring Your Bible to School Day Logo Lockup with the Words Beneath

Every year on Bring Your Bible to School Day, students across the nation celebrate religious freedom and share God’s love with their friends. This event is designed to empower students to express their belief in the truth of God’s Word–and to do so in a respectful way that demonstrates the love of Christ.

Focus on the Family’s® Foster Care and Adoption program focuses on two main areas:

  • Wait No More events, which educate and empower families to help waiting kids in foster care

  • Post-placement resources for foster and adoptive families

Christian Counselors Network

Find Christian Counselors, Marriage & Family Therapists, Psychologists, Social Workers and Psychiatrists near you! Search by location, name or specialty to find professionals in Focus on the Family’s Christian Counselors Network who are eager to assist you.

Boundless is a Focus on the Family community for Christian young adults who want to pursue faith, relationships and adulthood with confidence and joy.

Through reviews, articles and discussions, Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live.

Have you been looking for a way to build your child’s faith in a fun and exciting way?
Adventures in Odyssey® audio dramas will do just that. Through original audio stories brought to life by actors who make you feel like part of the experience; these fictional, character-building dramas use storytelling to teach lasting truths.

Focus on the Family’s Hope Restored all-inclusive intensives offer marriage counseling for couples who are facing an extreme crisis in their marriage, and who may even feel they are headed for divorce.