There is need to understand that fostering a healthy and lasting relationship with your child takes a whole lot of conscious effort and a great deal of commitment. It is not something that happens by chance.
I grew up in a home where there was no form of closeness between my parents and me. When I visited at some friends’ homes and saw how they related with their parents like close buddies, I made a decision that I would strive to build a healthier bond with my own children than I experienced.
As a mother, you need to make a conscious effort to be close to your children. According to a researcher, Kira Birdith, “The parent-child relationship is one of the longest lasting social ties human beings establish.”
The best friend your child should ever have is YOU as a mother.
We live in a society where mothers are too busy for their children. A society where children cannot confidently share certain things with their parents for fear of being rebuked or dismissed. If there is one thing parents should be grateful for during this period of Covid-19 induced lock-down, it is the opportunity to bond even better with their children, and spend more time with them. Verifiable studies show that some children are closer to their house-helps than to their parents; they see their parents as strangers. This is indeed so sad”
Here are some secrets on how to foster a healthy and lasting relationship with your child:
1. GENUINELY LOVE YOUR CHILD
The first step to fostering a healthy and meaningful relationship with your child is to love your child genuinely. This step cannot be over emphasized at all. Sow the seed of love into your child’s life and you would be glad you did. As a mother, start talking to your child right from the womb. Do not be cowed by the idea that the child in your womb cannot hear you; the child hears you. Talk to your child consistently, so the child can get familiar with your voice.
2. EXPRESS YOUR LOVE
Saying “I love you” to your child can go a very long way in helping to create a bond between you both. Do not assume that your child knows Mummy loves him/her. Tell your child, “I love you boy/girl”, “Mummy loves you from the depth of her heart”. How often do you say such words to your child? Have you ever said such words to your child before? If you have not, you can make a decision to start today. The more you express your love to your child, the more the bond between you both increases.
3. DO NOT TALK YOUR CHILD DOWN
Never make the mistake of talking your child down; it demoralises your child, it deadens that child’s self-worth and self-esteem. It also destroys his/her self-confidence. Say positive words to your child, do not insult your child at the slightest provocation.
4. SHUN FAVOURITISM/PREFERENTIAL TREATMENTS
This is massive because it is so rampant in most homes today. In fact, I grew up in a family where it existed. As a mother, try as much as possible not to value or love a child more than another. The psychological effect is not good at all. Do not create such an environment in your home, this is because such an environment breeds hatred and causes rancor and unhealthy rivalry among siblings. This can be somewhat difficult because there are times when a mother loves a child more than the other, due, maybe, to the circumstances surrounding the birth of that child, but you must try as much as possible not to show it. Learn to love your children equally; it breeds unity and love among siblings. Remember, all your children cannot be the same. They are unique in their individual ways, so never compare your children, never.
5. UNDERSTAND YOUR CHILD’S LOVE LANGUAGE.
Love languages does not only apply to your spouse, you also need to take out time to understand your child’s love language. I would recommend the book ‘Five Love Languages for Kids’ by Gary Chapman”. When your children are still little, you do not really know their primary love language. Therefore, shower them with all five love languages and you are bound to hit it, but if you pay close attention and be more observant of your child’s behaviour, you can actually learn their primary love language quite early.
Understanding your child’s love language is very crucial and it helps you in communicating more effectively with your child. Dr. Gary Chapman in his book talked exclusively on these five love languages which are: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service and Physical Touch.
6. SET ASIDE A TIME IN A DAY/ WEEK FOR YOUR CHILD.
Try as much as possible to set aside a day in a week for your child, just to talk and bond, no matter how busy your schedule may be. Set aside a day in a week to have a heart to heart talk with them. Find out what is happening in your child’s life, and who your child hangs out with (friends). Do you know your child’s friend(s)? You can set aside a day in the weekend just talk to your child, and pay a close attention while your child pours his/her heart out to you. Talk only when necessary. When hanging out with your child, switch off your phones and avoid any form of distraction; give an undivided time to your child. Remove every distraction that would not make you give one hundred percent of your attention to your child.
As a parent, how much can your child confide in you? Create an atmosphere where your child can tell you what might be bothering him/her. Do not build a wall round yourself, having a mentality that after all he or she is your child. Try as much as possible to appreciate whatever your child does and mean it sincerely from the depth of your heart. Your words of affirmation should not turn to words of condemnation as your child gets older.
I sincerely do believe that most misbehavior in children and teenagers can be traced to lack of love and openness in the home. It is never too late to show love to your child. Make a decision today.
Remember the greatest role model a child can ever have are his or her parents.