Want to be a great parent? Want to raise a happy, healthy, well-behaved kid? Want to live in a home where discipline becomes unnecessary? The secret is to create a closer connection with your child. It isn’t enough that we tell our children we love them. We need to put our love into action every day for them to feel it. Here is how you can build that bond with them.
Start with trust, the foundation of every good relationship.
Maintaining trust in a parent-child relationship is pivotal and ensures deeper connection between parent and child. By the time babies are a year old, researchers can assess whether babies are “securely attached” to their parents, which basically means the baby trusts that his parents can be depended on to meet his emotional and physical needs. Over time we earn our children’s trust in other ways like, promising to play with them, taking them out to their desired location, buying them their favorite toy or picking them up on time.
Validate their feelings
Recent psychology research suggests that when listening to your child talking about his or her emotions, it is best to validate their feelings in return making them feel understood. For example your son tells you he feels bad that the older boys are able to take part in a certain sport in his school and since he’s not old enough he is not able to, you as his parent would listen attentively and make sure that you let him know that you are aware that he is disappointed about the matter and assure him he will get the chance soon when he is older.
Encourage, Encourage, Encourage!
Kids form their view of themselves and the world every day. They need your encouragement to see themselves as good people who are capable of good things. And they need to know you’re on their side. If most of what comes out of your mouth is correction or criticism, they won’t feel good about themselves, and they won’t feel like you’re their ally. You lose your only leverage with them, and they lose something every kid needs: to know they have an adult who thinks the world of them.
When tough situations pop up, solve problems together. This means instead of just telling your child what to do, ask for their opinion and make them feel like they have a sense of independence when facing hard decisions.
Encourage sense of right and wrong
Nurturing conscientious in children at a very young age not only develops their personality but helps them to draw out conclusions for themselves and choose the correct path at whatever situation life throws at them. Providing them with the correct guidance and upbringing will only maintain the connection you have with them to a great extent.
We often hear but do we really listen? Listening is actively engaging in conversation with your child. To listen well, we need to put specific skills into practice, such setting aside all other distractions and cultivating genuine interest. We do this in combination with active listening – sustained eye contact and reflecting back what we hear – we’re on our way to connection city.
Express your feelings
Every child would want assurance that they are doing a good job if they are or want to feel appreciated or to feel loved for that matter. Praise them when they deserve it! Make an effort to point out the good things your kids are doing and watch that smile creep across their face.
• Express yourself, say I love you often. Express love day in day out.
• If you disagree on something, sit and discuss what exactly you didn’t like and why.
• When you express yourself, nothing is left unsaid, leaving you both on the same page. This goes a long way in building a strong relationship.
Put down the phone!
Now as harsh as this may seem it is a matter that we as the parent have to implement so our kids would follow. To really connect during family time, make a no electronic rule (that goes for all the ipads as well) so you and your child can be fully present in whatever activity you and your child are engaging in.
Make time for a special outing once in awhile
Your child will appreciate that time you spend with them, no matter where you decide to take them. Remember the time you spend with them is just as precious for you as it is for them. One day you would wake up to find your daughter thousands of miles away, living her life independently without ‘YOU’ by her side.
This is always easier said than done but making your children aware that you are available helps you both to have better communication. If you are dealing with a toddler, he or she will usually try to start a conversation at any given time if something does come up, particularly if you have proven yourself to be a good listener. With older kids, simply being in the same room doing something can create the opportunity for interaction. If you’re cooking dinner and she’s doing homework, for instance, or the two of you are in the car alone, there’s often an opening. Find ways to be in proximity where you’re both potentially available, without it seeming like a demand.
The relationship you form with your child is actually the foundation upon which he will later define himself. The love and care that you offer to your child determines your equation with him not just now, but for years to come. Be very careful and patient. You are not just raising your child; you are raising your next generation.
By Zahedi Samsudeen