As parents, we all want to share a strong emotional bond with our kids. Parenting is a lifelong journey and you are sure to enjoy it more if you share a strong bond with your child. There are a few things that you can do to build this connection with your child. Everything requires a little effort and so does building a bond with your child.
In this article, I am going to share with you a few things that you can do to build a strong bond with your child.
Focus on building the right foundation
The sooner you start to bond with your child the better is the parent-child relationship. However, if you feel that you have missed out on a few months or even years, there is no need to feel bad. You can always repair your relationship at any point in time.
Relationship building needs effort
Every relationship takes time and so does the parent-child relationship. Relationships need patience, effort, compromises, and commitment. The more open and two-sided your relationship is the stronger the bond will be.
Find Time For Your Child
The more time you spend with your child is good. However, make sure that you are spending time out of a free will and not with an irritated state of mind.
Make sure that your company is happy, fun, and pleasant for your little ones. Take a small break if need be and then come back to your child when you feel fresh.
If you are a working parent and cannot meet your child during the day then make sure that you connect with them in the morning before you leave for work and be completely there for them after work.
When you are with your child then be 100% with your child and do not think about the work that you still need to finish.
Spending quality time is so important. It’s always more about quality and not quantity.
Trust your child
Trust is two-way traffic. You need to first make sure that your child trusts you.
The way to do so is to be available for them when they need you.
Do not make false promises to your child. If you have promised your child that you will take them on a picnic then do so. Kids learn the best by example. Make sure that you deliver what you commit.
Listen to your child when they come to you with their problems. They should know that they can trust you with their deepest secrets.
Now it’s not enough for your child to trust you. You also need to trust your child.
You need to trust that your child is good.
You need to trust that your child is the best child for you.
You need to trust that your child can do anything and everything that they wish to do.
The more trust you have in your child, the more your child will thrive.
Do not underestimate your child’s intelligence and emotions.
Find opportunities to encourage and motivate your child
This is so important. It is important that we encourage and not force our kids to do things. It is important to be mindful of what they like and dislike. It is important to empower their choices and encourage them to do things that make them happy. Only a happy child can thrive. You want to make sure that you are there to support and encourage your child whenever he/she needs you.
You get respect only if you give respect
Respect is something that you get only when you give. It is no different with our kids. If we want them to respect us then we need to respect them first. We take our kids for granted and consider ourselves to be their bosses. There is no such thing as a boss in a relationship. You can have limits and rules for them but you need to impose those with empathy and respect. When you do so you will see that your child talks to you and others with respect.
Remember our little ones are always mirroring us.
Relationships are a slow collection of daily interactions
Every small interaction that you have with your child adds up to your relationship that you are going to share with your child.
It is okay to snap sometimes, but it is very important to repair.
What this means is that if you had one heated conversation with your child, then make sure that you have several other kinds of conversations with your child.
You must also apologize and make repairs with your child.
These small steps can help you build a strong everlasting bond with your child.
Give Full Attention
When your child speaks to you or tries to tell you something, make sure that you stop everything else for a moment and give them your full attention. By doing so you will be signaling to your child that you care about their feelings and are willing to listen to whatever it is that they wish to share.
Ignoring them or asking them to wait too long sends them the message that you don’t care about their feelings or that you are not interested enough to listen to how they have to share.
You never want to do anything that makes your child feel this way.
This is a recipe for disaster as far as your relationship with your child is concerned.
Sooner or later your child will stop sharing his/ her feelings with you.
Don’t take it to heart
Your child is small and his/her brain is still developing. He/ she doesn’t know how to control their emotions and how to pick the right words to express how they feel.
Sometimes we snap even after trying very hard to control with fully developed brains.
Then how can we take what our little ones say or do personally? We all say things that we don’t mean when we are angry.
We say those things even without realizing what we are saying/ doing.
Our anger and emotions win over our bodies and brain.
As a result, we end up reacting instead of responding.
If your 4-year-old child tells you- “You are a bad mother.” you shouldn’t take it too personally.
Instead, you should understand what led him to say so and then work on repairing/ fixing that situation.
Love your children for who they are and not who you want them to be
This is so important. As parents, we tend to compare our little ones with other children or sometimes with some imaginary ideal child that we want them to be.
However, we must accept them just as they are. Tell your children how much you love them. Tell them that they mean the world to you and that you can imagine how life would be without them.
Just accept and love your child.
Imagine if your child wanted you to be a different version of yourself so that he/she could love you, wouldn’t that be too hard for you. It is the same for our little ones. They just want you to love them for who they are and not for who you want them to be.
Don’t punish and be too hard
Punishment only spoils or erodes the relationship between you and your child. You want to have limits and rules for them but you don’t want to make them hate you or be scared of you. You want to teach them new things by inspiring them instead of punishing them. No one likes to be screamed at. Be gentle and you will get the results faster.
Fix the small rifts
If there is a disagreement between you and your child, find a way to fix it immediately. You don’t want the foul feelings to stay with you or your child for too long. Every argument allows removing the misunderstanding between you and your child.
Try to repair after every small fight
This is the most important part of building a healthy relationship with your child. Every time you make a mistake it is important that you fix it. For instance, if you get very angry and end up slapping your child, then instead of wasting too much time feeling guilty, you must take ownership of the mistake you made and try to fix it. Tell your child how you completely lost control and did what you didn’t want to do.
Repair and positive communication can help fix things and ensure that you share a healthy relationship with your child.
Attend to your child’s emotions
Do not dismiss your child’s emotions. Instead, validate your child’s emotion and help him/her identify different emotions like anger, fear, jealousy, kindness, etc.
The more you help your child in the initial years the more your child is prepared to handle their emotions in the future.
For example, if your child doesn’t like it when someone tickles him, you can ask your child, “I see! The tickling irritates you.” You just told your child that he needs to label this emotion as irritation.
Just like this, you have to help your child identify different emotions that he/she encounters.
Give importance to your emotions
It is important to tell your child how you are feeling. Being honest about your emotions can tell your child that it is okay to have emotions. For example, if you are very angry, you can tell your child that you are going to take 10 minutes off before you can speak with him. By doing so you are signaling to your child that emotions can be managed and changed.
Pause a little and then respond
Kids go through a lot. Their brains are still developing and they have to listen to so many adults. They go through so many different emotions every single day and sometimes even multiple emotions like anger and confusion at the same time. Kids don’t have enough vocabulary to express how they feel.
Hence, we must listen to them, be there for them, and take a deep breath before we respond to our children.
Pausing a little before speaking will help us respond instead of reacting.
Your tone of voice, facial expressions, and body gestures tell a lot about how you feel. Sometimes you can communicate a lot about your mood even without speaking at all.
Make sure that you listen to your child actively. Active listening means that you also ask your child a string of questions to help your child come out of their current emotional state. For example, if your child is angry because his friend won’t play with him, you can ask your child the following questions –
“Why do you think your friend doesn’t want to play with you? ”
“Did you want him to play something he doesn’t like to play?”
“Was your friend not feeling very good today?”
“Did you ask him why he didn’t want to play?”
These questions will encourage your child to think and find a reason for feeling angry and unhappy.
The more you help your child, the more they will trust you and come to you for help.
This will strengthen the bond between you and your child.
The above points might seem like a lot of work. But trust me you are already doing most of it.
Getting conscious about what you need to do is a stepping stone towards what you wish to achieve. In this case, we wish to achieve an everlasting emotional bond with our little ones.
Doing all of this and even some of it will ensure that you share an everlasting emotional bond with your little one.