It is every parent's dream to nurture their children into responsible, happy, successful adults. But the problem is so many parents have no clue how to achieve that dream. Well, let me be honest with you-being a parent is incredibly difficult, but if you are able to create a solid relationship with your kids, your life will be significantly easier.
The job of nurturing your kids begins when they are born. Here are some quick tips on how to continue to build on your relationship with your kids.
1) Spend time with your baby: The job of bonding with your child should begin when your kids are newborns. Spend time holding your child, lay him on your chest, talk to him, sing with him and let him feel, hear and see the love you emit-and this also goes for dads as well. Doing this gives your child a comfortable sense of security which he will need in order to stand tall as he grows older. Even if you don't have a lot of free time, make sure you're able to carve out alone time with your baby each day. Quality time weighs more than quantity of time.
2) Utilize drive time properly: As your child gets older, he'll be spending a lot more time in the car, and chances are you'll be his chauffeur. Instead of letting him drown you out with his phone or his music, or you drowning him out with your phone calls, use that time to go over his mood, what he learned in school, learn about who he's hanging out with, what's going wrong in school and so much more information. It's no longer enough to just ask "How was school?" You have to dig deeper. Ask him who he sat with at lunch, what games he played, who his favorite teacher is, who his least favorite teacher is as well as the highs and lows of his day.
This sends the message that you're listening, you care, and you're a safe person for him to talk to. Close parent-child relationships are built over the course of time.
3) Make punishments a teachable moment: Now all isn't peaches and rainbows in the world of parenting. There are going to be times when your child steps outside of the boundaries you've created and you have to give him a consequence. It's just the way the world works. First make sure you're not punishing your child while you're very upset-you'll end up saying and doing things you regret.
After calming down, think through a punishment that fits the situation, then calmly explain what your child did wrong, why it was wrong and give him some time to explain his thought process. Why? Because it helps him learn how to process his emotions and think about consequences (a skill every good human needs to know). When the punishment is over, mend fences with him and let him know that you love him no matter what. Don't ever let your child go to bed thinking he's bad or that your relationship is broken in some way.
4) Be aware of your child's feelings: Be vigilant. When your child is throwing a fit (yes, even those teenagers), rather than screaming at him, ask him what's wrong. You see kids aren't fully developed and they sometimes don't know how to process things. It's your job to teach him about emotions and how to properly handle them. Don't get mad at your child because he's mad (that's madness-Pun Intended). Rather, help him get to the root cause of his anger and show him that it's okay to not always be happy.
This shows your child what empathy looks like and it gives him a feeling that he's secure around you. If your child doesn't feel emotionally secure in your home, he'll find security somewhere else-and you won't like it.
5) Encourage your child to have an opinion: Don't raise a robot. Include your child in some of the decisions in the home. This will teach him advanced reasoning skills which he needs to be a successful and productive adult. After all, no parent wants to raise a child who just follows others blindly.
6) Focus on the positives: Your job as a parent is to be the coach, guide and confidante. If you're able to play these three roles well, you'll be happy with yourself. But too often, parents focus on the weaknesses and wrong doings of their kids. That isn't to say that you should never correct your child, but if you're overly critical, your kids will be hurt, disgruntled and overly hardened.
Think about the words you say to your children in any given day. Are the majority commands and criticisms or are they ego building and kind? It takes 3 positive words to drown out 1 negative word from a child's mind, so make sure you're pouring in much more positive than negative.
A parent is a child's first mirror.
If these tips were helpful to you at all and you want to learn more practical parenting skills to help you improve your relationship with your child, give me a call at 951-905-3181. My 8-week Toddlers to Tweens parenting support group (held in Murrieta) teaches parents ways to improve their relationship with their kids, how to properly manage misbehavior and how to encourage good behavior. You can also email me here to find out if the parenting class is a great fit for you.