Parenting is arguably the single most important task any person will undertake. Every parent describes their journey differently. It is like this infinite world with infinite possibilities. There is no guidebook on how to be the ‘best parent’. There is just a community of parents sharing their tips, tricks, and experiences in order to help each other.
A great parent just loves, protects and wants what is best for their children. It is all a parent can do. To do that, you need to understand your child’s needs and want and understand their strengths and their weaknesses. As a parent, you need to build an unbreakable connection with your children. It does not reduce the ups and downs of parenthood but it makes the experience that much smoother. So how do you build this connection? Here are so many ways of doing this and here are a few of them.
Proper communication is vital in any healthy relationship. It should not be any different with your child. Take time to have conversations with your child. Also, take time to listen. Ask them about their day. Check in on them from time to time even when they are not actively speaking to you. This should be a priority, especially when dealing with teenagers. They do tend to distance themselves from their parents.
When it comes to sharing emotions and feelings. Let your children know that they can share anything – be a safe space for them. Listen to their problems no matter how trivial they may seem. Empathize with them. However, you need to understand that this bond does not happen in a day or night. Be patient with the process.
Acknowledge that you are not perfect
As a child, your parent is superhuman. You believe that they can fix any problem you face. This persona comes with the idea that our parents can do no wrong. So as the children progress in life, it feels like they cannot talk to their parents. They feel that their parents will not understand their problems. Especially for teenage children. Make it a point to break down that wall. Start by sharing some of your life experiences and mistakes you have made in life. This will allow your children to relate to you without feeling like they are disappointing you. Also, do not be quick to jump into giving advice. Sometimes, your children just want to feel like they are being heard.
Spend time with them
Make a conscious effort to spend time with your kids. For the younger ones, you can tuck them and read them a bedtime story, and find out about their day. However, the time you spend with your children should extend beyond that. Find out what they enjoy doing and join them as they partake in those activities. It could be bike riding, trying out different restaurants, watching TV shows or movies.
Whatever it is, be active in your child’s life. Find an activity you both love. Use these activities as bonding sessions. However, note that the quantity of time you spend with your children is as important as the quality of that time. Hanging out with your children when you are constantly on your phone will do little to strengthen that bond. Keep your work and gadgets away and be present.
Let them make their own decisions sometimes
Now, this has got to be the hardest thing for a parent to do. Take a step back and let your kids make their own decisions even when they may not agree with them. Start small. Let them choose the clothes they like or places they want to visit. Letting children make their own decisions promotes independence, it also builds confidence, allows room for self-discovery and teaches them responsibility. But most of all, it communicates to your children that you trust them which works to strengthen your bond.
This may seem to work against the whole idea of drawing your child to you. Even though you are trying to build a seamless relationship with your kids, you cannot always be their best friend. You are a parent first. That means disciplining them when they go wrong. This will not only build their character but it also works in your favour
Sometime after the issue is over, after they are done giving you the silent treatment and grumbling whenever they see you, they will see that you meant well. At that point, it makes the child feel safer knowing that their parent has their back no matter what. However, quick disclaimer, this may take a while. So do not expect a congratulatory hug or a thank you anytime soon. One of the downsides of parenthood I suppose.