It’s not easy being a parent – it’s not easy for the parent OR the child sometimes! Whilst we are parents, we are also ourselves, who we are at our core.
This is something we (subconsciously) often minimise so that we can offer our child the BEST version of ourselves, the version we THINK a parent SHOULD be. Think about it; how often are we one person as a parent and another person to ourselves?
In my years of working with parents AND children individually, Ive come to realise that a balance between the two is a helpful recipe for happy parent/child relationships.
Children are mostly resilient creatures! The things that seem to unsettle them most are around not understanding things that are happening around them (in their family environment) and inconsistency in their parents approach to them – in other words, they like to know where they are and how they fit
Phew! STOP THE PRESS! ( breathe a sigh of relief ) they don’t require us to be perfect, happy all the time or to give them everything they want – they just want us to explain things in a way that they can understand, to understand and accept how they feel and to keep them safe in situations that make them feel challenged.
So, here are my TOP TIPS for developing a secure relationship with your child;
- Encourage them to talk about feelings from a young age and model talking about your own feelings too !– try to avoid limiting expression to happiness ,sadness, worry and anger, describe the more obscure feelings; for example frustration, envy, contentment, feeling vulnerable, feeling insecure, feeling optimistic. Understanding what our feelings represent really helps us all know where we are in our lives
- Encourage them to share their opinions and thoughts about things from a young age. Ask them questions about things and value their point of view. It doesn’t mean you have to agree with them all the time, but you can respect the fact that they have an opinion about a topic! Learning how to accept different view-points is a great skill to take into their adult life!
- Allow them to be a little vulnerable and allow them to see you when you’re feeling vulnerable as well – as we get older we feel less comfortable with being vulnerable in any given situation, but this can forge a sense of mistrust between people. Being allowed to be vulnerable and then experiencing this as being Ok, without the world caving in, is very helpful in forming stronger bonds and connections. Tell them if you’re nervous about something, or worried or scared alongside making sure that you demonstrate that despite being vulnerable you have optimism that it will all work out and be OK
- If things are going wrong, try to demonstrate that you have the tools and skills to support yourself and them – even if we are struggling, we owe it to our children to remain the ADULT – we cannot expect children to do the worrying with us or to feel responsibility for our adult problems. Children need to feel safe, physically AND emotionally so that they can develop into secure and grounded adults.
- If you are struggling in any way, get support with it! adopt healthy coping mechanisms! remain calm around your children! things usually have a way of working out over time and things change
Over the next few blogs I’ll be sharing behaviour management tips, strategies for building resilience in your child and understanding how children cope.
Get in touch with any parenting queries or to share thoughts and feelings about bringing up children that can support other parents in our Wellbeing community – Id truly love to hear from you and we can support each other so much!