Bonding with your children is something that is supposed to happen naturally, and that’s why it’s easier to find advice on how to bond with your rabbit or your cat, than it is to find advice on how to bond with your child. Unfortunately, bonding with your child isn’t something that you can take for granted in today’s world. We spend most of our time at work, and when we are at home, there’s housework that needs to be done, meals need to be prepared, groceries need to be bought and so on. You end up feeling so exhausted that you don’t have the energy to spend quality time with your progeny, resulting in the gradual deterioration of your relationship.
Children who don’t spend much time with their parents, tend to compensate either by distracting themselves with solo pursuits, such as video games, watching TV, playing with toys or studying; or by spending their time with other people. Neglecting your child can have a negative effect on their self-esteem – you are sending a clear message that they are not worthy of your time or effort – and this can lead to behavioral problems. If they can find another source of companionship which makes up for your neglect, they are likely to come under the influence of that other person and they may reject you in future. Unfortunately, children who cannot compensate for their parents’ neglect often struggle with emotional issues and can become depressed, suicidal and lead them to drug and alcohol abuse and criminal activity.
It is therefore, imperative, that you try to find a way to bond with your child, even if it takes up a lot of your time and effort. Remember, they didn’t have the choice of who they were born to and under what circumstances. It’s your moral duty to give them the best upbringing you can. Fail your children and you will regret it for the rest of your life.
There are lots of ideas you can try. Think about what you would do on a play date with your child. Try to find something you can both enjoy – perhaps a day out at the pool, a movie, some really tasty food or a visit to a theme park might work. Make sure you spend time together after you the activity itself so that you can share your emotions and discuss what you liked or didn’t like about it. Look on the internet if you need help with ideas for what to do.
Don’t try to be on the same level as your child – they will see straight through it and lose respect for you – partly because they know you are being deceitful by not being your true, adult self; and partly because you are supposed to be the dominant adult – it’s your job to step up and protect everyone if necessary, and you won’t be able to do that if you’re pretending to be a child. All you need to do is be open, honest and stick to the rules.
Another way you can bond with your child is by doing chores around the house and the yard together. Your child might not be thrilled with the idea of planting vegetables or cleaning out the garage, but they won’t resent having to do it as much if they see that you are pulling your weight with them. Working as a team – not as master and slave – is essential here. When the job is done, you’ll both feel a sense of accomplishment and you might want to treat yourselves as a reward. Talking about the job and finding common ground in your thoughts and opinions is a great way of bonding.
Remember that the respect between you and your child must be mutual. If you demand respect, you must also show it – accept your child’s temperament, respect their boundaries (which will get ever bigger as they begin to grasp their independence), value their input. These are the only ways you can ensure that your child listens to you and respects you. Remember, they are not your property, they are not subservient to you. They are separate individuals with separate lives, to whom you have a great deal of obligations.
Bonding with your child will pay off as your child grows into a well-rounded adult and maintains possibly the closest relationship you can gave with another person.