Your relationship with your children is as important as your relationship with your spouse.
You need to have a strong bond with your children so you can connect when troubles arise and understand each other. You need your children to know you and your partner are there for them. You need your children to be willing to talk to you about their problems.
All that comes with connection.
Here are three ways to strengthen your existing bond or start building one with your children.
- Converse. Spend a couple of nights a week playing card or board games as a family. If your children are in school, ask how their day was. Ask your spouse how his or her day was. If anyone has any stories to share, listen. Make your children a part of your life instead of sharing stories about your work with your spouse alone.
- Listen. Encourage your children to talk about their issues. Let them do the talking and listen without passing judgment or scolding for the poor choices you feel your child may have made. Dig a little deeper and share experiences you remember from when you were younger that you feel may have bearing on your child’s problem. Show your children you are ready to listen and help them find solutions.
- Empathize. When your children are struggling, sit down with them and make it known you understand how they feel. If you have an experience to share about how you overcame a similar situation, share it. Reflect your child’s emotions and ask for explanations if you do not understand how they feel. Once your child feels you understand their emotions and do not judge them for their feelings, they will be more likely to come to you with further problems, knowing you will offer guidance without scolding or putting them down.
Build your relationship as a family. You and your spouse should both be there for your children. When your children know both of you are understanding, their relationship with you and your spouse will be equally strong.
Keep the bonds between you, as a parent, and your children strong. Connect.