As a teenager, my child struggled to keep their cupboard clean. No amount of lecturing from me on the importance of keeping their almirah organized helped.
Raising self-reliant children becomes difficult when parents punish, nag, lecture, scold or shame them. On the other hand, overprotection and shielding children from all disappointment are also ineffective strategies to inculcate self-discipline in them.
Effective parenting involves struggling with our own feelings and building connections with our children.
So how do we teach these essential life skills to our children?
To guide our children in positive ways, the first and most essential step is to build our bridges or connections with them. Children learn when they feel a sense of belonging and significance.
There are many ways in which we can create our connections with our children.
Listening attentively is the beginning of creating a connection. Can you recall a time when someone listened to you carefully? How did it make you feel?
Paraphrasing, being non-judgmental, and attentive body language conveys good listening skills. It is helpful to keep your phone and other gadgets aside and to listen to your child with complete attention. If you are busy with your chores and find it difficult to listen right away, share it with your child and decide on a mutually suitable time. How you convey this to the child is important. It is a good idea to use ‘I’ statements like, “I can see that you want to talk to me about something. I am busy with this document right now and have a deadline of two hours to submit it. Is it okay if we talk after dinner?” Of course, we need to remember that if there is something urgent that the child needs to share, it should be heard on priority.
Validate and address the child’s feelings. Children often feel overwhelmed with emotions. A simple thing like dropping an ice cream may upset a child. As adults, we sometimes forget that the child’s world is different and begin offering solutions. Remember that we feel connected to people when we feel understood.
Another effective way to build a connection with your child is by giving them opportunities to cooperate and feel capable. Finding solutions with children, whether it is related to creating routine charts or resolving mealtime issues, helps to develop their individual abilities. Unconditional love and encouragement from parents make a child feel safe and valued and aid in building bridges with the child.
In this blog, I have shared some ways in which we can create connections with our children. Do share with us some ways that help you in strengthening the bond with your child.
Image Source: Freepik
Positive Discipline (2008) by Jane Nelsen, Ed.D.
Teaching Parenting the Positive Discipline Way (2017) by Lynn Lott, M.A., M.F.T and Jane Nelsen, Ed.D., M.F.T.