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How To Bond With Your Child Better

2. Household cleanliness

Household cleanliness may not be the biggest, most panicky issue that you have with your bright kid, but in surveys of parents it regularly comes up as one of the biggest issues facing parents on a day-to-day basis.
How To Bond With Your Child Better

We can all admire the cavalier attitude of the mother who told me her strategy for dealing with messy bedrooms: 
  1. Clean up the room. Make it impeccable. Make it delightful.
  2. Take a photo of the bedroom.
  3. Take the film out of the camera and take it to someone who can blow up the photo to poster-size. 
  4. Bring the poster home. 
  5. Close the bedroom door. 
  6. Stick the poster on the door. 
  7. Pretend that is what it looks like. 
Rituals around household cleanliness need to be handled carefully with bright kids. Even the most fair-minded parent - after meticulously preparing a cleaning roster - will find the Debaters complaining it's unfair, the Manipulators angling for special privileges, and the Competitors challenging you to come up with a consequence so severe that they will actually participate in the whole process. Having discussed this issue with tens of thousands of families, I have come to the conclusion that there is only one really viable solution. No, it's not to give in and hire a cleaning firm. It is the clean-up hour.

Most families of bright kids find that the easiest way to arrange clean-up times is to have an hour each week when everyone pitches in and does whatever is needed to make the house look respectable. One family who tried this made it into a real occasion, with people taking turns to pick the music to clean to, and following the clean-up time with a special brunch or lunch. For bright kids, this has the advantage of delivering a message that a family is a unit where everyone helps everyone out and everyone participates.

3. Spending some time together
These are the most important rituals of all because they build belonging. Belonging underpins resilience, and giving your bright kid the ability to overcome adversity is a gift that sets him up for life. You may already belong to a cultural or religious group that has weekly rituals. It is still worth developing a few family rituals which occur regardless of how people are behaving or what has recently occurred.

In talking to many bright kids who have since developed into positive adults, I often ask them what they think helped them to grow up and succeed as well as they have. They often talk about being loved and supported, and when I ask them what helped them to feel loved, they will almost invariably mention a ritual that occurred in their family. Rituals act like coat hangers for people to hang the good memories of their childhood on. It is worth thinking about two types of rituals you can have:

  1. Family rituals, such as dinner together, a family walk, playing a game on Monday evening, watching a particular TV show together. Select something that everyone can participate in and will enjoy. It doesn't need to be expensive; the best rituals often cost nothing.
  2. One-on-one rituals. As bright kids often compete for attention in fairly counter-productive ways, having one-on-one time with you can ease their negative behaviors. Think of one thing you and your bright kid could do together each week that would involve nobody else and do it. If you are a single parent with a few children, I suggest you rotate your children's special rituals, get some support and look for ways to do this. It builds positive relationships.

To find out more, you can check out How To Bond With Your Child Better.