When you have a good relationship with your children and when they know our love for them is unconditional, your relationship acts as a protective shield. This shield will help them navigate a world where, even though they’re likely to face disappointments, emotional woundings and futility, they will be in the best possible position to adapt and be successful.
But what kind of relationship is best? There seems to be a trend these days that parents should be their children’s friends. This is not actually in your child’s best interest. Children thrive with firm boundaries and limitations being set for them. This isn’t about a power struggle, but rather gives children a sense of safety from which they can explore and experiment.
The best type of relationship is one that is strong, created early on, supportive, unconditional, yet with boundaries and a clear sense of who is in charge (you, by the way!). Hence, at the top of your parenting agenda you should place the task of building a strong attachment and connection with your child. By focusing on this attachment early on, you create a blueprint for your child’s future relationships. That is, your child’s early family experiences help them learn what it is like to be connected to others and able to trust and rely on them.
Keep in mind that each of your children is different and will have different needs, so make sure that whatever you’re doing is unique to that child and will be significant to them.
Try any of these activities:
- Go for a walk around the neighborhood. Ask where your children’s friends live, what kind of activities they like to do with their friends, talk about the things your child sees as interesting.
- Play games together (ride bikes, play ball games, play video games, go to the park for a swing).
- Watch your child’s favorite television with them and talk about why they like it.
- Visit the library, choose some books and read together.
- Do chores together (e.g. dishes, laundry). These are good opportunities for talking and sharing.
- Phone your children when you can’t see them in person.
- Send a postcard when you are traveling.
- Display a photo of your children in your home and office. Display their artwork.
- Praise your child’s attempts to try an activity and to do the best they can.
- Show your children how you feel. Tell them you care about them and love them.