Parents who work from home tell me their kids are often acting bored, complaining about small things, and don’t seem as happy as they appear outside the house… and not as happy as when they’re with others (e.g., at camp, at school, playing on sports teams, visiting grandparents, etc). Why’s this? The amount of 1-1 time kids have with their parents (or anyone for that matter) can surprisingly shift the gratitude factor in the wrong direction. It’s human nature, but the closer we are, the less likely we respect boundaries and appreciate one another.
We’ve all heard that old expression that “distance makes the heart grow fonder”. This is the opposite effect. Too much time together results in not realizing the value of others. Spend time away from your kids, even at home. Set up time for them to play quietly in their rooms. Go to an area you section off as “adult space”… make them knock on your bedroom door if they want to enter. Setting up boundaries and decreasing the amount of 1-1 attention will begin to shift things in a better direction. And most important, the more they pull away, don’t try harder to please or appease them. Walk off, shrug your shoulders. Make them act better before you give them rewards and your attention.