The parent-child bond is usually firm and robust through time. Sometimes, though, things can go wrong, and the relationship breaks down.
As a parent, this can be an emotionally tumultuous experience. You love your children and don’t want to see the relationships breaking down in this way. It’s heartbreaking – and definitely not something you want.
Fortunately, there are many tactics you can use to improve your relationship with your children that counselors swear by. What’s more, you don’t need a Ph.D. in psychology to deploy them. Mostly, it’s small, simple changes that make the most significant difference.
As parents, it’s so tempting to escalate interactions with our children. We feel that they must submit to our authority at all costs and, if they don’t, they will run riot.
Escalation, however, is a self-defeating strategy. Kids are very conscious of the behavior of their parents. When you conduct yourself in a relaxed, calm manner the vast majority of the time, any deviation from the norm is very apparent to your children. They’ll notice the slightest inflection in your voice and respond to it.
However, if you’re shouting all the time, it becomes routine. Suddenly, no matter how much you raise your voice, your kids don’t seem to react. You feel like your only choice is to escalate further.
Not escalating can feel uncomfortable, but over time it makes a difference. You can still discipline your kids and discuss their behavior with them. But you also keep more ammunition in reserve, just in case you need it.
Nothing is more annoying than having a boss breathing down your neck all day long, micromanaging everything that you do. It makes you feel uneasy, and all you want to do is escape the situation.
Kids experience a similar thing when interacting with parents who monitor them the whole time. They never feel like they can express their authentic selves.
As a parent, try to step back and allow them to explore the world on their terms. It can feel a little scary because they don’t always get it right. But eventually, they will internalize all their self-regulating mechanisms, and you won’t feel the urge to intervene every five minutes.
Discuss Your Problems
No relationship is ever perfect. That’s why online family therapy has taken off during lockdown. People realize that they need help.
It’s essential to try to discuss problems you’re having in your relationship with your children at the earliest available opportunity. You can do this independently or with the help of a professional if you feel it is necessary. As the older party, you need to create space for your kids to bring their issues to you. Let them speak and get it off their chests. It can be hard to listen to, but you can only move forward with authentic, genuine feedback from the heart.
Improving your relationships with your children is possible. And often, it’s the small things that make the most significant difference. It’s always worth it.