How many of you feel that your child is not close to you? Refuse to share his thoughts with you? Or doesn’t even want to sit down and have a chat with you?
Seriously, if your answer to the above questions is Yes, Yes and Yes! There are 7 questions you really need to ask yourself. As parents, its our responsibility to give our child all the love and care they deserve, if you have not been giving the basic to your child, please do not expect much from them.
Your children need your presence more than your presents. ~Jesse Jackson
1- How much time do you give your child? Your child feel loved when you spend time with him doing things he love. Playing, reading, singing, watching cartoons or simply just acting silly at times. Everyday, set aside a ‘child-bonding time’.
During this time, please, put your work, your worries and all other committments aside. Be fully involved. Through actions, your child will definitely draw closer to you.
If there is a day you cannot spend time with your child, give him a call, not to inform him, but to chat with him just for a few minutes to show that you are sorry and you miss him.
If ever you made a promise to your child and you could not fulfill it, please make it up to him. This is very important. You are teaching your child integrity by fulfilling your promise in another way. For example, you promised to be present in his school sports day and you could not make it. Make it up to him, by bringing him to a place he enjoy or have dinner with him in a special restaurant.
2- How often do you talk to your child? Communicate is the word. Not one-way talking where you talk and your child listen. But rather let your child speak and you listen. Give opinions, feelings and ideas and not rebuke and lecture.
I have always emphasized, understanding your child is the essence to an enjoyable parenting life. But how can you understand your child if he wasn’t given a chance to let you come into his world and share his world with you?
Communication is not just a talk and listen process, it includes body language too. When was the last time you hug your child, give him a pat on the back or a kiss on the cheek? Actions speaks louder than words. And never forget to tell him, “I love you”.
3- When was the last time you laugh with your child? Laughing together over the same thing shows that the two of you really enjoy each other’s company. That is definitely a plus point in bond building. Take time to play with him. Its not the toys that matters, its the enjoyment that counts. The bond that you are building now will last a long time even as your child matures.
4- How involved are you in your child’s problems? Remember, your child looks up to you. In the early years of his life, especially when he starts to go school , there will always be obstacles that he finds it hard to get over.
Always listen to the whole story, repeat the problem back to your child to make sure that you do understand first, before giving suggestions. Never pre-judge.
Help to develop your child’s ability to solve problems too, by asking him about his feelings, his view and any possible solutions he has thought of. Allow your child to think through each solution, ask him what he thinks would be the likely consequences to each option.
Decide on the most appropriate solution together. A closer bond is built when the two of you can overcome the problem as a team.
5- When was the last time you complement your child? All humans love to hear nice words said about themselves. For children, praising them not only lift up their spirits, but also act as a great motivator to continue to do good in the eyes of his parents.
Please praise him with all your heart without a ‘but’ at the end of the complement. For example, “I love your colouring, but why is the elephant pink in colour?” Its more like throwing a wet blanket. Be clear of what you are complementing him of. Instead of saying, “good boy”, try to say, “good job, you kept all your toys back into the box, its so neat now.”
6- How sensitive are you to his feelings? Do you notice that your child is not smiling? Do you notice that he is not behaving as he always does? Or is he exceptionally joyful today? Ask him what is the thing that is causing such a reaction in him.
Let him talk about his feelings, listen to him, make sure you understand his feelings by saying, “it seems to me that you are unhappy with your teacher for scolding you in front of the whole class.” Let him have a chance to clarify his feelings, if your understanding was wrong. Your actions here is really telling him that you want to understand him better.
7- How much due freedom are you giving your child? Some parents are just too busy with their work and could not be bothered about their child. Other parents are too afraid that their child will get themselves in any trouble and gave no room for independence.
In all things, balance is important. You can let a young child to play at the playground with his friends under supervision. A teenager can be given more freedom in his activities but with the parents keeping track of his whereabouts and the friends he is with.
Remember, it takes two hands to clap when it comes to building any relationship. It will always be easier for the parents to start bridging the gap early than for the child to say, “Mummy, can you spare me some of your time?”