If you want to be a great parent, you’ve got to take the time to develop a strong connection between yourself and your child and form a lasting bond. Telling a child that you love them is wonderful, but putting that love into action by being present to attend to their emotional needs is even better. It takes work and energy for any relationship to thrive, and the relationship between you and your child is no different. Too often, parents get caught up in working jobs, driving their children from one extracurricular activity to the next or feeling too overwhelmed with life’s daily tasks to take the time to check in with their kids. Just like a non-watered garden will die, a lack of emotional nourishment from a parent will erode their relationship with a child.
Prioritize Time for Your Child
We’ve all heard of spending quality time with your child, but the other half of that equation is the quantity of time spent with them. Quality plus quantity adds up to a close relationship. You’ve got to free up time from your busy life to make it happen. If you work all the time and race home to cook dinner and put the kids to sleep, it’s not going to work. You’ll need to put in a significant amount of time on a daily basis to create a strong bond with your child. This can be especially hard for working parents, but you can make it work. It just can’t be done by asking them how did their day went after picking them up from school. You’ll only get the proverbial “fine” response. If you settle for that, you’ll be losing the opportunity to develop a relationship with your child. Try to think of other positive ways throughout your busy work week to spend time with them. For example, after helping your child with their homework, take a leisurely walk around the block for some chit-chat. Create some of your own fun games, like what’s on your mind or a penny for your thoughts. It will set up an atmosphere where both you and your child can open up to each other without any pressure.
Trust is the Foundation of Every Strong Relationship
Your child needs to know that they can depend on you. As an infant, this trust develops when you pick babies up to comfort them when they are crying and feed them when they are hungry. Babies attach themselves to their parents to fulfil both physical and emotional needs. As children age, we as parents earn their trust in other ways. Picking them up on time, following through with a promised activity and maintaining a confidence are examples of this. By comparing life insurance providers and selecting a good plan, you can maintain that trust even when you’re gone.
Listening Instead of Just Hearing
Although you may have other things on your mind, being tuned in to what your child is saying is a great way to establish a relationship that is built on strong communication. As pre-schoolers, kids have a lot to say about what happened at school. Be sure to build on their comments with questions, praise and words of wisdom. If you start young, it’s much more likely that your child will come to you for advice when he or she is a teenager. Two things happen when you aren’t really listening. You miss the opportunity to teach your child, and your child learns that you don’t really listen, so there’s not much point in communicating.
Punishment that Fits the Crime
No child is perfect, and it’s likely that they will sometimes do things that displease you. Punishment that is humiliating, threatening or hurtful will only wear away a bond, so tread carefully and resist the urge to be punitive. Of course, you can set limits and reinforce expectation, but do it in an empathetic way that is focused on improving behaviour instead of causing your child to be angry with you.
Parenting is never easy, and it’s going to take love, time, trust and patience to create a strong bond. In the long run, your good efforts will create a strong and long-lasting relationship.