All of us want to connect with our children. With all the distractions from work and life, it can be hard to be a truly present parent. Dr. Timothy Dukes’ new book, The Present Parent Handbook, was written to help parents be more mindful in our interactions with our families. Tim was nice enough to answer a few questions for us. Enjoy!
I’ve heard the terms “quality time” and “quantity time” before, but before reading your book, had not considered the importance of “incidental time.” Can you briefly explain what you mean by incidental time and why it is so important for parents?
I am very fond of the reality of incidental time. I might define it as those moment that are not planned, they arise unexpectedly, and invite us into our child’s world or them into ours. Incidental is defined as “falling upon” or “happening to.” Incidental time fosters curiosity, serendipity, play, frolicking, resulting in a “felt-sense of knowing” by both the parent and the child. This “felt-sense” establishes the baseline of fundamental connection. Nothing is planned, duration is a secondary concern, and now in this moment, something unfolds between us that is abiding. Incidental time, holds context for life as is. Life that lives itself and in which, if we are present, we participate.