Parent – Child Relationships
How can I build a meaningful relationship with my kid(s)?
It is not easy to talk to your child. Sometimes, it feels almost impossible. If they are teenagers then they would prefer to stay in their room and not talk to anyone. If they are in grade school, there are topics that can be hard to approach in an
Having an actual conversation can be challenging, but you can do it.
Be an active listener
Make sure that your child has your full attention. Put your cellphone in another room on silent. Make sure that the television is off and give your child complete eye contact. Ask your child questions about what they are telling you. If you don’t understand something that they said, repeat it back to them and ask them to explain.
Be honest with your kid
Tell them how their actions make you feel. Whether you are proud, excited, or even disappointed. Be honest with your feelings. You want to set a pattern that when you communicate, you always are honest with each other.
Respond and react to your child’s behavior
Did your child get a piece of their artwork in the school art show? Give your child praise! Hugs, tell them how proud you are, make sure that they know you are proud of them. Play with them, if they are into crafts, let them lead you through making something. Do they love Legos®? Build something together. Get down on their level and do what they love to do. Show them that you love and support their positive behavior.
Pay attention to the details
Sometimes asking about even the smallest details of a story can lead to what your kid is really trying to tell you. It is hard for kids to communicate their true feelings so look for details within their stories and notice their body language. Do they appear uncomfortable? Are they fidgeting? Perhaps there is something that they need to tell you. Asking about those smaller details can really help.
Have one-on-one time with your child every day
We totally understand how crazy a day can get. Between work, getting dinner ready, helping with homework, and cleaning up after dinner, there is so little time in the day. But having even ten minutes of un-interrupted time with your kid every day to discuss their high and low points of the day, what they have coming up, how their relationships with their friends are going, can have a huge impact.
Give real advice
Sometimes we don’t love what our kids have to tell us. Perhaps they have a friend who is experimenting with drugs, maybe they stole something or have had sex for the first time. Stay calm and give practical advice that really helps. Do not brush it off because it is a difficult subject or you are disappointed in their choices. Help them resolve the situation that they are in the best way possible.
Above all else…
Do not give up on your kid. If there is something that you aren’t able to help them with, it is okay to ask for help! Ask a close friend, relative, or their school counselors. There are people that can help you. It is okay to not have all the answers.
As they say, “it takes a village to raise a child.”
How can I support my kid?
As our kids grow up, the support that they need can change. You can evolve with your kids to provide them support at every level of their development. Get on the ground and play with them when they are little and help them through those first milestones.
When they start school, develop a relationship with their teachers. Find out what they are doing well with and the areas that they need help. Celebrate their wins and help them through their losses.
Are they artistic, or academically inclined? Do they play sports? Be their cheerleader and encourage them to always try their best. Don’t coach them or yell during practice or a game. Let their coaches coach.