Of Mustaches and Orange Hair


My 16-year-old daughter recently asked if she could dye her hair orange.

“Sure,” I said.

“I’m not going to do it. I just wanted to know what you would say,” she said.

About a week later, my 13-year-old son asked if he could grow a mustache.

“Sure,” I replied.

The fact that he physically can’t grow one right now is besides the point.

I’ll admit that on the lenient-strict continuum, Robyn and I tend toward the lenient side. We don’t have lots of rules, set schedules or even a consistent list of chores.

Your parenting style may be very different than ours. You may feel orange hair is a sign of rebellion or just doesn’t represent your family very well. You might have a list of chores for each child to be done every day before dinner. That’s fine. You need to be true to your own convictions. Our style works for our family.

Whether you tend toward being lenient, strict or somewhere in between, connecting with your child’s heart is non-negotiable. Building a relationship with your child takes time and talking. Do you have some time set aside for that?

Let me encourage you to look for synergistic opportunities–activities in your schedule you can do with one of your children rather than alone. If you look for them, you’ll find a lot of them. Running an errand on a Saturday morning. Going to the gym. Playing golf. Mowing the lawn. Cooking dinner. Washing the car.

You can do all those activities alone or you can do them with your child and build an emotional connection with your child. Time together gives your child the opportunity to talk, ask questions and feel connected to you.

Then when the “orange hair” questions arise, you’ll already know the heart behind the question.

SOUND OFF: What’s working for you in building an emotional connection with your child?


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