Strengthen your parent-child bond
What many parents tend to forget is that your child will not be with you forever. The few years that you have to raise and nurture your child, create memories. Strengthening the parent-child relationship requires work, communication to connect with your children during the different stages of their lives.
Sotunde stressed, “how often do you tell your child ‘I love you?’ Providing clothing, food shelter and good education for your child should be accompanied by a special bond that tells the child he/she is special to you.
“I always encourage parents to have hard copy photo albums at home; this can help in parent-child bond. Once in a while, bring out these albums, look through them together, you can tell your child the stories on how the pictures came about and what transpired while the photographer was taking the pictures; every child love to hear stories about themselves.”
The parenting coach noted that you can only have good and open communication with your child if you have built rapport when the child is still young.
“Do not wait until your child becomes a teenager before building that parent-child bond. You should have special nights or movie dates (indoors) with your children to create that one-on-one quality time. Whether it’s a walk around the neighbourhood or a special lunch with your child, it is important to celebrate each child individually. Although it may look challenging for parents with many children, it is achievable if you are intentional about it.
“Make your child your priority in your life, spending quality time with your child cannot be overemphasized. If you are not influencing your child, there are a lot of things such as television, internet, books, friends, neighbours that are influencing your child.”
While it is important to teach your child about your faith and beliefs, let him know what you believe and the reason for your belief. Allow your child to ask you questions and answer them as honestly as you can. Remember that it is not enough to teach your child about your faith but to live an exemplary life.
Sotunde further urged parents to find time to play with their children, adding, “If you have younger children, get down on the floor and play with dolls, balls, board games, hide and seek, or sing songs together. If you have older children, you can play cards, chess, computer games or ride bicycles together. It does not matter what kind of games you play, just enjoy each other and commit to giving your undivided attention. You are not perfect, let your child see the silly and funny side of you.
“You are investing in your child’s life by building a relationship and finding time to bond when your child leaves home, these memories will stick. As its been discovered that children and parents who have parent-child bond, the children hardly fall into trouble and are less likely to join gangs nor try drugs or alcohol,” she added.
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