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4 ways to strengthen the bond with your child

Bring playfulness into your parent personality to win your child’s cooperation

parentingHere is how you can strengthen your bond with your child (Source: Pexels)

I meet a lot of parents who say, ‘My child doesn’t talk to me’ or ‘My child doesn’t listen to me’. As a parent struggling and encountering this regularly, I am sure you are curious to know more about what’s going on in your child’s life. So, let’s start with building a relationship with your children where connecting with them is a priority over behaviour corrections, academics, performance and so on.

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Before I share some strategies for strengthening your parent-child bond, let me tell you what makes people connect to with one another:

· Showing interest in the other person

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· Asking questions

· Listening

· Ask questions to know more

Let’s use these principles to help you connect with your youngling, tween or teenager at home and get to the heart of the matter.

1. Ask questions that are open-ended

Open-ended questions spark conversation and also boost critical and creative thinking. Such questions cannot be answered in one or two words. One such instance is: ‘What’s your favourite fruit?’, whereas an open-ended question would be: ‘What makes you like mango more than other fruits?’ or ‘What’s a fun experience you had while eating mangoes?’

Use open-ended questions after a closed-ended question to engage your child in a conversation, get to know their minds, interests and world. It is a powerful method to open up to each other. Here are some more examples of such questions:

· What would you do if you could plan your day with full freedom?

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· What is the first thing you would do if you were invisible?

· If you could change something in me, what would that be and why?

· How should we spend time as a family on Sunday?

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Wait after asking the question, this lets your child know that you are patient and willing to give them time to think and discuss their ideas.

2. Listen

When so much around us is competing for your attention, like work, duties, gadgets and never-ending to-do lists, it’s hard to find time to attentively listen to your loved ones. But for any child and tween, to have a parent’s listening ear is very endearing. They feel worthy of your attention. They feel you are interested in them. They feel cared for. Listen to connect with their thoughts and emotions. Dedicate quality time in a day to listen to their experiences, stories without judgement, and pay attention to what is happening to them, around them and the emotion they convey. This creates the pathway to communicate during the rebellious teenage years.

3. Playfulness

Parenting often feels like you are running against a time machine, where you are just getting tasks completed and meeting demands. It can feel like you are stuck in a rut and before you know it, the environment has become serious and stressful. Change the mood around by being playful — children (and adults) of all ages love to play. Games such as statue, ludo, imitating each other, playing catch, etc. are fuss-free and fun. Prioritise bringing playfulness into your parent personality, it will not only strengthen your bond but also win over cooperation overall.

4. Feelings Circle

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For a moment, imagine how different your childhood would be if you had a trusted adult validate your feelings, and guide you through difficult situations? You can be this adult for your children irrespective of their age, be they four, nine or 16! Start with talking about feelings, including your own. This will unburden them emotionally and prevent meltdowns. Create a ‘feelings circle’ to ask questions and share your responses. For instance, ask: ‘What has made you upset/angry this week?’ Communicating with your children about feelings will bring you both closer and promote good emotional health in your home. I will explore this idea in the future columns.

Young children and the youth may come across as carefree and happy-go-lucky but they have a big need to feel seen and loved for who they are. Your parent-child relationship is unbreakable and unconditional, harness the power of connection by being intentional and prioritising it daily.

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Shubhika Singh is a senior consultant psychologist specialising in young adults and the co-founder of Innerkraft.com, based in Kolkata

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First published on: 07-10-2022 at 03:47:08 pm
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