Many parents desire close connection with their children. They want to understand their children and they want their children to understand them. In short they naturally desire intimacy with their offspring but do not know how to go about it. It is therefore not uncommon to find problems and strains developing between children and their parents. If this is not arrested on time, as children grow to become adults the estrangement between parent and child may become palpable, leading to disconnection with parents, lack of trust, breakdown in communication and a cold and frosty relationship.
The question then arises: how can parents ensure vital connection and intimacy exist between them and their children? The following are a few steps parents can take to maintain mutual affectionate relationship with their children.
Start from Birth
Connecting and bonding with children starts right from the first day of birth. It is vitally important both to the survival and psychological development of children that they be picked up cuddled and cared for right from birth. In the process of doing this, parents get to establish the right bonding and connection with their children. While this may occur to mothers as a matter of course and in the line of performing maternal duties, the same may not be true for fathers. It is therefore important that fathers make a conscious effort to be involved in caring for the new born baby and continue this process of engagement throughout the various developmental stages of the life of that child.
Don’t be an Absent Parent
Parents who are often described as ‘absent parents’ don’t get to bond with and establish the right connection with their children. It is vitally important to make a conscious effort as a parent to make friends with your children and this requires a lot of time and attention. Come down to their level, play and converse with them without compromising your authority as a parent. This requires that you seize every opportunity to make it fun for them when they are in your company, but immediately switch to discipline immediately they cross set boundaries. However, once the correction is taken by the child and they appropriate discipline or admonition is given, never forget to switch back to the’ friends mode’. Many parents make the mistake of remaining on the war path with their children for longer than necessary whenever they are perceived to have crossed set boundaries.
Don’t Stay Aloof
It’s never a good idea to stay aloof from children. A lot of parents are so preoccupied with their career and business that they never take out much time to interact with their children. This is often the case with some fathers who believe they are too busy to take out time for such interaction. Communicating with their children is often reserved for official communications such as ‘can you get me my shoes’? ‘Please ensure the car is washed before 7 am tomorrow’. Speaking to children only when it is essential to get one or two things done within the home or to pass vital messages across is more likely to damage your relationship with your children in the near future.
All parents must take time to play with their children, share mutual daily experiences, eat together, go out together, watch movies and play games together. Many other activities which encourage positive interaction should be introduced. That way your children will come to realize it’s always fun to be in your company and they therefore will continue to crave to be with you, thereby leading to a life-long friendship.