Today’s post was created by Olivia Jones. She is a contributor to High Style Life Blog. Her bio is at the end of the post. Enjoy! ~J
Everyone comes to parenthood totally unprepared; even when you think you’ve learned everything from the books you’ve been obsessively reading while pregnant, the reality of things hits you on the head. Most of the things aren’t as you’ve expected them to be, but that’s okay. You are learning step by step, and that’s one of the beautiful things about it.
What must be one of the most frightening things of all is the realization that another human is completely dependent on you. From their food, nurturing and going to sleep to the love they receive, the education and the behavioural basis they subliminally pick up. Even research backs up the theory that, what children pick up in their early youth, it sticks with them for the rest of their lives. It’s a huge responsibility! With that in mind, it’s not uncommon for the parents to hit the wall while trying to establish a healthy communication with their kids. After all, no one is born into a role of the parent, they get to learn it. And just as all lessons in life come at different speeds to different people, so do the parenting ones.
If you’ve been struggling to improve the relationship with your child, here are six tips you should consider:
1) Listen to your child
Children are smarter than we give them credit. Instead of doubting they’re mature enough or smart enough to understand something or have an opinion, give them a chance and listen. Listen to their thoughts, realizations, suggestions and ideas. By talking to them and acknowledging their opinion, you’ll not only get to understand your child better but build a fantastic relationship based on mutual respect.
2) Don’t push them too hard
To avoid having a child that’s constantly under pressure, put your guard down a bit. Don’t set expectations you know your child cannot meet. Don’t push them; instead, stimulate them. Set realistic expectations and stick to them. Children love when they’re challenged but not tortured or scared into doing something. Explore your child’s limits and act on them in a healthy way.
3) Respect their privacy and trust them
To help them feel you trust them and respect them, give your child privacy they need. Don’t force them to keep their bedroom door open, don’t go through their phone, don’t follow them when they go out or double-check where they’re at. Research explains that, the more open you are with them, the more open they’ll be with you.
4) Let your child make mistakes
No one is perfect; not you, not your husband, not your child – so stop expecting perfection immediately! Let your child experience the beauty of mistakes, and help them understand mistakes are a common part of life. Educate them on the potential consequences of their actions and let them judge for themselves. If they make a mistake – that’s okay – they’ll learn from it.
5) Be a respected role model
The crucial thing in parenting is for parents to understand that everything they do directly or indirectly reads as a model of behavior they’re setting. If you feel like you can’t separate your role of a parent from the role of a friend (to your child), consult experts that can help you rationalize and find the best solution possible. Professionals that have years of experience with family counseling will definitely help you get a broader perspective. Further, if you’re experiencing barriers in communication with you child, bring them into counseling too and have a third, professional, party be the mediator and find a successful solution.
6) Find the middle ground
Whatever rules you are setting, make sure you include your child into decision-making. Don’t project your unfulfilled dreams onto them; rather, let them choose for themselves. Let your child have a say and work on finding the best option possible.
With everything that you’ve read above, we hope you’ve got a clearer picture of things. If you can practice a few of these tips you will better your relationship with your child. Either way, don’t ever forget you are the most important person in your child’s life, all throughout their growing up, young adulthood (teenage years) and later. So, then – act like it.
Olivia Williams Jones is psychologist from Brisbane, dedicated to making some changes in the world, starting from her own environment. Also, she is regular contributor to High Style Life blog. Olivia is a writer who is passionate about mental health, parenting, healthy living and pets. Her motto is “Be the change you want to see in the world”.
Do you have any other tips for improving relationships with your child? Olivia and I would love to hear them – please share with us in the comments!