No matter how frustrating they can be at times, our kids mean the world to us. While maintaining the closeness you had when they were five can be difficult as they get older, there are still plenty of ways to improve your relationship or get back to a good place after there has been tension.
Parenting is the most complicated job you’ll ever have. Getting a balance between telling them what to do, and letting them make their own decisions can be a battle; and there will be times when there’s just no seeing eye to eye. It can also be difficult to keep up with how quickly they’re growing and maturing; suddenly the TV show you both used to love isn’t of interest to them, and what they find funny don’t seem to make sense to you.
There might come a time when you think you both couldn’t be more different, which makes maintaining a strong relationship pretty hard. But whatever situation you feel like you’re currently in, there are a variety of ways to get back on track and improve your relationship.
1. Let them teach you
Most of the time, you’ll be teaching your children everything they need to know: how to talk, right from wrong, how to tie their shoes. But as they get older, there’s opportunity for you to let go of the reigns and let them teach you a trick, or two.
Understanding what makes them tick, what makes them laugh and how they feel about certain topics will help create a better, more balanced relationship. Listen to everything they have to say to show that you appreciate and respect their opinions.
This is particularly important when you have more than one child. What might work for one, won’t necessarily be the same for the other – so you have to make time to listen and connect with each child in a way that works for them.
2. Believe in them and acknowledge their efforts
Whatever has happened in the past, kids still need their parents to be their biggest cheerleaders. The more they see you’ve got their back and believe in them, the closer they’ll feel to you. It can be easy to focus on discipline and highlighting their mistakes, but showing appreciation and spreading positivity is just as important – if not more.
San Diego family counseling sessions often open up the conversation in which children can discuss whether or not they feel their parents are proud of them. You as a parent might know that you’ll always be proud of them, no matter what, but may not have remembered to actually show it.
One simple tip for showing appreciation and your belief in them is to provide five compliments or positive notes for every negative one.
3. Be flexible
Even if you think you were the perfect child, your parents might disagree. Accepting that there will be times when your kids mess up will help you keep a level head when problems do arise. Being flexible with your expectations will leave you feeling much less stressed, and your kids less controlled.
Nobody can tell you the right or wrong way to parent your children. But if you’re looking to improve your relationship, showing that you’re willing to trust and believe in them will be massively appreciated as your child develops and travels their own road.