Many parents desire a 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 trend is not promptly arrested, as children grow to become adults, they will become glaringly estranged from their parents. This leads to a lack of trust, a breakdown in communication, and a cold and frosty relationship.
There are steps parents can take to ensure intimacy between them and their children. The following are a few steps parents can take to build a mutually affectionate relationship with their children.
Begin at birth
Connecting and bonding with children starts right from the first day of birth. From birth, it is vitally important both to the survival and psychological development of children that they be picked up, cuddled, and cared for. In the process of doing this, parents get to establish the right bond and connection with their children. While this may come 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 baby. They should also continue this process throughout the various developmental stages of that child’s life.
Don’t be an absent parent
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 to make friends with your children. This demands 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 when they are in your company. However, you must not hesitate to correct or discipline them if they ever cross set boundaries. Once the correction is received or the appropriate discipline meted out, switch back to a friendly mode. Many parents make the mistake of continually nagging their children for longer than necessary.
Don’t stay aloof
It’s never a good idea to stay aloof from children. A lot of parents are so preoccupied with their careers and businesses that they rarely make time to interact with their children. This is often the case with some fathers who believe they are too busy to set aside time for such interactions. They communicate with their children mainly as a way to pass on vital information or ask essential questions. That is when you hear such interactions as, “Can you get me my shoes”? or “Please ensure the car is washed before 7 a.m. tomorrow”. Speaking to children only when it is essential to get one or two things done within the home or when you want to pass vital messages across is more likely to damage your relationship with them.
All parents should make time to play with their children and also share mutual daily experiences. Eat together as a family. Go out together, watch movies and play games together. Many other activities which will encourage positive interaction should also be introduced. That way, your children will come to realize it’s always fun to be in your company. This will make them continue to crave your company, thereby leading to a life-long friendship.