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Goin’ Fishin’

There are many ways to bond with children.  When they are very young, eye contact and touch are vital to the process because the human brain responds best in the early years to cuddling and caring for their immediate needs.  As children grow older, touch and eye contact continue to be important but there are other ways just as valuable to connect.  Board games, throwing a football, playing catch in the back yard are all great ways to connect with kids, particularly boys who want less physical contact but still crave a personal relationship with their parents.

I first recognized that my 12 year old son was drifting further away from me because he began arguing with each request; refusing to clean up after himself unless threatened with losing his precious IPOD until the task was completed; even questioning me on my knowledge of driving and directions to the skate board park.  In short, EVERYTHING was an argument.  There is nothing I dislike more than spending my every moment arguing with my children.  I realized I needed to spend some one on one time with my young son.

Labor Day weekend dawned bright and comfortable in the 70’s, perfect weather for a fishing expedition.  We woke up and packed our poles, tackle box, and a cooler with ice into the trunk of the car.  A quick trip to Walmart for worms and a few gooey fish lures and we were off to the small lake not far from home.  After getting my weekend fishing license, we drove around until he found the “perfect” fishing spot.  It is important to give our kids some choices and the fishing hole was a good place to start.

Goin FishinWe fished for about three hours the first morning with Alex catching a little striped bass the first day and me catching a tinier sunfish.  We didn’t touch much and we didn’t say much but I could feel him relax a bit more each hour.  The next morning we went back with the last of our worms and a few fun lures to try out.  He found a “better” fishing spot near the first one.  We still didn’t speak much but I was able to teach him how to thread a worm on so it didn’t come off easily when he cast his line.  That seems like so little but a child with attachment issues allowing a parent to teach them anything at all is a big success.  He was pleased with his accomplishment and thanked me for the lesson. How cool was that?

I didn’t catch anything bigger than a rock and some seaweed.  He caught two more  tiny bluegill but he let me show him how to take them off the hook and throw them back.  A few days later, when he was back at my house for the night, he came in to the living room where I was watching TV with my daughter and climbed up on the couch and cuddled with me for a long time.  He is not arguing with me so much these days and he brushes his teeth without being reminded.  Yes, these are small changes but oh so important in the grand scheme of things.

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