Before school started last year. Mom took one afternoon just for me. We shopped for clothes and got some school supplies and then we had lunch together and talked about everything. I was the only thing on her mind. She’s usually so busy with day-to-day stuff and with taking care of my father and my brothers that it’s hard for us to have any time alone together. She had a big smile on her face when I thanked her for the good time I had. I think that day had a lot to do with our getting along much better than we used to.
Some of the best moments for children happen when they do something alone with a parent. Perhaps it’s because this one-to-one time satisfies a child’s need to feel uniquely loved and significant. We know as adults that when someone spends time with us, it’s a compliment. It says, “I value you. You’re worth taking time for.” For children “invited” by their parents, such feelings are probably many times stronger. After all, to a child a parent is the most important person in the world. One of the hardest things any child ever has to do is share his or her parents. Rose, the oldest of seven, and now an adult, put it this way:
There was always a baby in the house demanding Mom’s attention. She’d try to talk to me but one of the other kids always interrupted. The only time I remember being alone with her was when we went shopping together, and even then she was busy picking stuff out.
For children with siblings, this need for one-to-one time with a parent, away from brothers and sisters, is especially strong. One-on-one time offers a welcome respite from corn-petition for a parent’s attention and makes it easier for children to coo• rate with each other. Ifs not surprising,