In my last blog, I provided a surefire strategy to rescue a relationship with a child using Protected Special Times (PSTs). This week I’ll show you how to activate PSTs with teens and adults. It’s simple. Here’s how:
First, find a time that works for both of you. Set aside between 10 minutes (if you are repeating this daily) and a couple of hours (if you are meeting less frequently). Pick a regular time that works every week; if you have to schedule again every week, you will give up quickly.
Second, be creative and choose a fun activity you both enjoy. Think big and overcome common barriers to having fun. Here are some of my favorite examples of PSTs:
- My mother-in-law had a pot of tea and snacks ready for her teenage children when they came home from school, creating instant Protected Special Time.
- My friend took his middle school son to McDonald’s every Wednesday morning for breakfast rather than having him take the bus.
- Good friends of mine have a standing date at their local sushi restaurant every other Friday.
- My parents took PST with each other every night when my Dad got home from work. They poured a drink, kicked us kids out of the room, and talked for at least 10 minutes prior to dinner. We knew to stay away; this was their chance to talk through their day prior to sitting down and talking with the seven of us about our day.
- Business partners who were struggling to get along decided to have a scheduled breakfast together twice per month. During this PST they avoided business-related topics, sticking instead to sharing about other things that were personally important to them.
Third, if you are working to heal or rebuild strained relationship, let the other person direct the activity for a while. This is especially true with teens, who ought to pick the activity and place, then be allowed to control the direction of the conversation. Parents should resist the urge to use this to take control or give advice.
Finally, when you get out of the habit (and you will!), be relentless about starting over.
Implementing PSTs can shock any relationship back to life. So what are you waiting for? Pick a relationship and get started today!