In the hustle and bustle of daily life, when parents spend most of their time at work, and children are left on their own, quite often there comes a situation when the near and dear ones drift apart from each other.
Due to the lack of attention a child becomes socially withdrawn and indifferent, or on the contrary, he becomes aggressive and tries to get parents’ attention by all means available. Both the former and the latter models of behavior cause parents’ outrage, as they are quite sure most of the time, they are doing everything they can so that their children want for nothing. If you are familiar with such a situation, then the first question you should ask yourself is «How much time do I spend with my son or daughter?»
Parents spend on average from 1 to 3 hours a day with their school-age children. And this is in a best case scenario! Research has shown that an average American spends with his child less than an hour a week! To compare, for a child’s proper development and well-being at least 5 hours a day is necessary. But the question here has even more to do with quality rather than quantity. As quite often simply being together doesn’t guarantee a mutual exchange of experience, positive energy and love.
Everybody knows: there is nothing that contributes to building trusting relationships more than collaborative activities do, such as games, sport or reading. However, moderation is required as in all things. There is no point in imposing your own interests on a child and making him do what he doesn’t like. It is much better to ask your child what he feels like doing. Otherwise, you may hear: «I don’t want you to read to me», «I am too old for us to play together», «What is there to talk about?»
Expressing love and respect
To regain trust it is important to pay attention to a child’s emotional well-being. If a son or a daughter beсomes reserved more often than usual, or gets frustrated instantaneously in response to an ordinary question (comment), his or her emotional state is worth working on. How can it be done? One of the ways is giving your child hugs as often as possible and telling how much you сare about him. Also, try to notice how often you support your child, are you able to show empathy whenever he or she needs it. And one more thing, what do you talk about with your son or daughter? If all you talk about is school, then a child might think that you only care about his achievement in studying. Remember, the last topic children want to discuss is their school problems! Try not to bring up studying in conversations with you child for a while. It is essential that a child is sure that you are always there for him, you are the person whom he can trust with his thoughts, fears and worries, regardless of his success at school.
One more chance to get children on your side is to ask them for help. In this way you can show a child his importance. Ask a child to do something for you, but do this in a way that it doesn’t look like you are giving orders. A son or a daughter must feel the desire to help you. If you were wrong in relation to your child, you may have punished or shouted at him unfairly, the best way to make things better is for you to admit being wrong and apologize.
For the soul, the mind and the body
What else can you do to get on good terms with your child? Tell him what you have done during the day for your soul, body and mind. Admit, what went well and what didn’t go as planned. In a while you can ask a child: What do you think you have managed to do today for your soul, body and mind? And if a child is confused at first, you shouldn’t get discouraged. Keep telling about yourself, admitting your ups and downs. Such exercise may turn into a habit and there will be no need anymore to come up with a new topic to discuss every evening. You can tell about your day, listen to your son or daughter, and then together make a plan for the following day, which you may discuss tomorrow evening if you like. At such moments you can imagine what else you would like to do for the soul, the mind and the body.
Author Vera Pustovidko
Translator Daria Samusenko
Original text Три способа вернуть доверие ребенка