“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”. This quote from Charles Dickens pretty much sums up the growing-up experience. This phase can be a trying period for not just children but also their parents. You are not alone if you find yourself clueless in dealing with your growing child.
The way you interact with your child needs change as he grows up. Parents like to teach their kids what to do. This results in frequent clashes as your child yearns for freedom. You should start exercising a certain degree of autonomy by allowing him to make his own choices. After all, making mistakes and learning from them are all part of the learning process. Learn to listen without judging your child, and give your opinion only afterwards. In that way, your child sees you as trying to help him as opposed to being in his way.
Taking The Lead
Do you notice your child becoming less talkative and being in his own world? If you think your child is growing apart from you, take it instead as a cue to communicate with him. Ask him specific questions about his day as opposed to questions that lead to monotone answers. Share with him about your life as well to encourage mutual understanding. Beware of revealing too much though, or that might cripple his impression of you.
Your home serves as a safe environment for your child to develop his wings. Maintaining the parent-child bond is vital so that you can continue to guide him. What better way than to have meals together? Make it a point to have family dinners at least a few times a week. While there is a time and place for serious discussions, keep mealtimes light-hearted. We all need a stress-free family bonding time, don’t we?
Spending time with your child doesn’t always have to include endless conversations. This is especially so if your child seems reserved. Having a regular activity with your child, like playing chess, is a great way to build relationships without the pressure of having conversations. Sometimes, being physically present matters. Working together in the same room can help to strengthen connections. Small rituals like saying good night to each other also shouldn’t fade away as your child grows up. These little things let him know that you are always around.
When trying to build bridges with your child, hold realistic expectations. Don’t expect compliance from your child. After all, he too is wading into uncharted waters.