If you have recently become a parent or your children are approaching an age where they tend to regress from the close bond you have upheld for the majority of their life, it can be difficult to maintain a great parent-child relationship. If you are committed to preserving a happy and healthy relationship with your children as they age or as you prepare to relocate further afield and enter the unfamiliar world of step-parenting, for example, continue reading to find out everything you could ever want or need to know.
Pay attention to the small details
If you are struggling to connect with your children on a deeper level, it may be worth taking a thorough approach and paying attention to the small details. If your child is grouchy after a particularly rough day at school, for example, failing to get to the crux of the matter may lead them to falsely believe you don’t care or are uninterested in the small details of their day. In encouraging them to delve deeper and discuss the motive behind their low mood, however, it may reveal that they are struggling to make friends, are underperforming in the classroom, or are being bullied. It may seem silly at first or your child may be reluctant to bare their feelings, but by pushing if and when you can, your child will gradually become aware of what is happening and will be far more likely to come to you if they find themselves in the exact same position down the line.
Establish a communication schedule
If you no longer live under the same roof as your child or you spend the vast majority of your time on day, week, or month-long business trips, it may benefit you, and your child, to establish a communication schedule ahead of time. This can streamline the often difficult and arduous task of long-distance parenting and allow you to maintain a great parent-child relationship going forward. If you have recently separated from your former partner or are struggling to adjust to co-parenting, this guide to long-distance parenting can provide you with everything you need to know to allow you to proceed in a way that suits both parties. It can be as simple as organising weekly phone calls, video chats, or voice note sessions or as complex as planning to meet in person on a monthly basis, for example.
Reassure your child
If you have a strained relationship with your child or have just never had a particularly close relationship, reassurance is key when it comes to maintaining a great parent-child relationship. It can, however, be easier said than done with geographical and emotional barriers often getting in the way. If you have promised your child that you will call them on a particular day and time, for example, you must stay true to your word and deliver on your promise. If you fail to do so, you may be inadvertently eroding the barrier of trust between you and your child and contributing to an emotionally unstable relationship that will materialise as they age. It is also worth remembering that literal availability sets the foundation for emotional availability and that a major milestone, such as relocating across the country, can impact your child in a number of ways and alter their feelings towards you. It is, therefore, important that you reassure your child at every step of the way and remind them that you will continue to be their parent regardless of what physical or metaphorical obstacles may stand in the way.
Respect their privacy
It may be your ultimate goal to maintain a great parent-child relationship but if you fail to respect their privacy, you may end up achieving the opposite result. This is especially important if you have recently moved out of the family home or spend a considerable amount of time across the country or overseas. It is, therefore, crucial to establish a communication strategy that allows you to keep up to date with any minor or major milestones that may be happening in their life whilst simultaneously providing them with time to grieve or articulate their feelings as they age and contend with their emotions for the first time. If your child is approaching teenagerhood, for example, it can take time to master the art of communication during a time when it is, more often than not, the last thing on their minds. In addition to respecting their privacy, it is also important that they reciprocate and respect your privacy.
If you are keen to maintain a great parent-child relationship with your child, there are a number of steps you can take. This includes paying attention to the small details, establishing a communication schedule, reassuring your child, and respecting their privacy.
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