E.T. Phones Home, and Connection with Your Tween

October 29, 2015
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Leslie Dixon
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“I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.”  ― Brené Brown

E.T. Phone Home

For those of you who don’t remember the iconic movie by Steven Spielberg, the premise is that an extraterrestrial comes to earth and desperately tries to reconnect with his home and family.  He meets two children, who in the course of the film aid and abet his search, and ultimately connect him with the flying bike — and connection to his people.  

I’ve been keenly aware of how important connections are for most of my life– connections to each other, to our family of origin, and  our interconnections as a society. In our Puber-Tea course, I’m keenly aware of the close connection between mother and daughter (even grandmothers sometimes) at the beginning of the class. One of the questions we pose to mothers at the beginning of the class is, “When do you remember puberty starting and when did you start your period?” After the mothers share their answers with their daughters, I ask, “How many mothers feel that when they were their daughter’s age they were given adequate information, and felt comfortable going to their mothers with questions and concerns?”

As a rule, the majority of the mothers shake their heads no. Some are very adamant about not having had accurate and adequate information and a few say they had the support they needed.  I’m aware of the palpable shift in energy that transpires between mother and daughter when they’re faced with that question, their own loss of connection during puberty. The loss of mother/daughter connection around this experience can cause  a lasting harm  even into adulthood.

Those who attend my courses are truly parents who crave a more robust connection with their children, and it’s very evident during the classes. As the name of the company states “connection” is very important.  From the beginning, it’s been my goal to create parent-child courses because the connection between parent and child is imperative for a child to feel comfortable to go their parents with questions and concerns.

By nature, are we a society that embraces connection? Well, in a manner of speaking, we do. We now stay connected to our computers, cell phone, text messages, Instagram — and don’t forget —  Twitter.  Like with anything, technology has its uses — we know where our kids are, get directions, stay in touch with old friends and family and, some in cases, make our jobs easier. But how connected are we? Can these “sips” of “touch” via technology replace our face-to-face interaction? We each have to make a choice whether or not to stay connected to an electronic device or each other (one–on–one).

Even though “birds” and “bees” are the first words you see, my true purpose is connection. The definition of “connect” means something that joins two or more things together; having the same cause, origin or goal; a feeling of understanding and ease of communication between two or more people. How many of you had that growing up? For me, that sums up my goal for parents and their children who take my courses.

Connection is a theme throughout our courses. All of our courses connect parents and children. The courses were designed to make sure that parents and children have the opportunity to talk with each other about topics that pertain to puberty, hygiene, nutrition, self-esteem, social media, where babies come from, relationships, and much more.

This modality sets the stage for parents to be better prepared to continue discussing these topics in the future which creates a deeper bond of connectedness between both. Because the courses are taught with a combination of a small amount of lecture and activities which engage both parent and child via critical thinking skills, they nourish an environment of connection, form a ground for trust (and laughter!) and through that connection, give children a new advantage to withstand the pressures they face going into their adolescent years.

When we’ve connected with parents after taking one of our courses, they’ve all agreed: communication has improved.

There are several ways in which the Birds & Bees Connection supports ongoing connections.  Once a participant has completed one of our courses, we send a thank you. Our informative newsletters and blogs create ongoing discussions topics for parents and children. Follow-up phone calls, reminder postcards and a continuum of courses at each developmental stage help parents remain prepared and connected with their children.

Here are some  ways we continue to connect — try one!

  • Electronic-free dinners and together time (less is more)
  • Board games, card games, “Table-top” games
  • Take a walk in nature or at the beach
  • Take a course with your child
  • Go to a museums, a ballgame, a fair
  • Make bedtime something special — read aloud, make tea together, create a tradition

At the end of E.T., by way of a “flying bike,” E.T. not only “phoned home” but actually reconnected with home. Wouldn’t it be nice in this hectic electronic society if we could, as the definition of connection suggests, experience that feeling of understanding and ease of communication? Isn’t that we all ultimately want?

That connection what I teach, and what I aim to foster. Birds and bees may come first in the name, but connection is the mission of my work. Phone home.

I’ll sign off with this is the beautiful sign for “connection” in sign language:

 –Sign language et bnb

 

Educating and empowering!

Leslie Dixon

Founder

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