I believe every family has its own ways and means to handle children. Parenting strategies on psychological level can be broadly classified on the basis of authority. Some parents lay rules in every aspect to gain control over the life of their child. Some parents expect little to nothing from their children and just let them be. Some parents strike a balance between rules, authority and freedom. Nonetheless, it all comes down to how the child is benefiting in the long term. While traveling the path of parenting, at some point, you are bound to quiz yourself – How connected is our family?, How joyful is the bonding with our children?, How far do we exercise freedom of expression? Clearly; connection or bonding between a parent and a child is ever-changing. A warm hug might go a long way for a little one. While; for an older child; the parent will have to connect in more than one way. Irrespective of the age factor, the idea of finding that connection with your child and nourishing it all the way is a learning experience for every family.
There are plenty of ways to reach to your child, to build a connection; a bond based on unconditional love. Goes without saying, our human race is very well equipped to give or to receive love. But our lives have gotten so busy and mundane that we constantly need someone to remind us that we have some really special tools of parenting within us already.
Time out VS Quality time
Your toddler tries to test your limits almost every day and drives you up the wall in a snap of your fingers. While it’s their way to communicate, the responsibility is on us to assure the child that he is in safe hands. So the next time you think of a time-out, dark room, Jack the monster n blah blah blah…, try matching these tricks with quality time. Perhaps, the little one only wanted you to take a break, slow down and fix him a good meal. Perhaps, he was too sleepy. Perhaps, all he wanted was your undivided attention. Instead of nailing him down, try uplift him when his emotions are at its peak.
Our heartfelt commitment of time is what they need.
Hugs and kisses and more
Right from their birth, there are many situations each single day to communicate with your child in this language called ‘touch’. Gentle massages, cuddles and kisses, dressing them up, walking a child who has just taken his first few steps, greeting the child with a hug after a hard day, tossing a child in the air to have him in your arms eventually, having your child on your lap while reading to him, introducing more natural toys are some of those many ways to fill up their love tanks and to imbibe healthy emotions.
No words, and yet, the loudest voice of physical touch.
Positive loving guidance goes a long way with children. Often, our anger over-shadows this language of love, although we do not intend to do any damage. The words spoken are so potent, we often do not see the thin line between usual words of praises and words of endearment. I know how knee-jerking it is when your little one has done something which is appreciable for you in your mind. Tossing off a “Good job” to a child who’s put on his shoes all by himself – well, in all honesty, he has done this to please you and an affirmative like that means that you are forcing him to feel good about it. The “I did it” feeling is replaced with “Do you like it that I wore my shoes all by myself?” Likewise, “Very bad, you aren’t sharing…” for a two-year-old for not sharing a toy is definitely unsuitable. It is unfair to manipulate the child and tell him how to feel rather than allowing the child to experience and create his own memory. One should make a very conscious effort to think before speaking to children for we are responsible to lay a strong foundation for them.
Try make statements that are non-judgmental to restore their enthusiasm. Your wholesome presence without saying a word is much more rewarding.
Who wouldn’t mind a surprise gift right? Ironically, the idea of gifts has changed leaps and bounds thanks to the booming industry. Gifts are measured in terms of numbers and monies rather than quality or even that being an act of love. This powerful way of expressing love is misunderstood by many. Showing appreciation to children need not necessarily mean you go to a store with your child and buy him anything he wants. Children need our unconditional love and we often manage to dilute it by catering to unrealistic demands and ‘bribe-driven jobs’.
A gift for the child can be anywhere from a garden flower to his favorite dessert you’ve cooked, from a small picture you’ve created on a sheet of paper to a visit to a place where he finds joy.
A helping hand
This language of love mostly goes unnoticed. Seldom do we realize our children are assimilating everything we say or do. Simplest of all examples – how we treat our domestic help? Okay, you pay a ransom to have them home for an hour or two every day. If the adult fails to express gratitude towards the domestic help; an unfair emotion is triggered in the child’s mind who is watching you constantly. Helping/ acts of serving are physically and emotionally demanding for everyone. But we can all agree that it is one of the best platforms for children to receive positive vibrations from the adults around.
Simple acts of kindness like caring for your neighbor’s garden while they are away, volunteering as a family in your community or even mending their damaged toys are communicates deeply.
Consistently working on creating a layer of love and affection enveloping your family like a sheath makes the home a better place to live in for all. Ultimately, such efforts need to insulate the child through all the good and hard times when they enter the adult world. This topic definitely leads us to boundaries for our children. Boundaries for the toddler who insists on wanting that doll your little girl saw at the local store or boundaries for the teen who is experimenting her boundaries as well as yours. Perhaps, in the future posts…