Life with kids can get so busy, so chaotic, so demanding, that sometimes the day to day grind seems more like a matter of survival over anything else.
Even though the relationship that you have with your kids is important to you, sometimes it takes back seat to more pressing, immediate demands, like meal time, bath time, bed time, go time.
It’s no wonder that there never seems to be enough time, or energy and patience for that matter, to focus on building a loving and meaningful relationship with your kids.
But believe it or not, building a relationship with your kids actually requires less time and energy than it does skill.
And like any skill, it’s something we need to learn and practice.
And while you’re saying to yourself, “I don’t have time to learn new skills!”, let me tell you that learning and developing the skills you need to build a loving and lasting relationship with your kids is well worth it…
And here are 5 reasons why:
1. Improve cooperation
I know, because it’s the number one complaint I hear from parents seeking my support.
So let me tell you what I tell every parent who seeks my council on this issue: if you want your kids to listen, start by listening to them.
Yup, a key component of every good relationship is that both sides of the relationship feel heard, understood and valued.
I mean just imagine if you had to take directives from an authoritative boss who rarely took interest in you unless he or she was demanding something from you or reprimanding you!?
I personally, would have no interest and motivation to please, so I’m not surprised when my kids don’t pay me much attention or respect when I ask for their participation and cooperation on a day that I’ve been overwhelmed, distracted, irritable and snappy (to say the least).
Getting your kids to do what you ask, when you ask, is not always so striaght forward and many variables should be considered (like if they’re tired, hungry and/or cranky, forget about it!) but one thing is for sure, a loving and attentive relationship is the basic ingredient every parent needs if they want to heighten their chances for cooperation.
Now I know how it is.
I get tired, impatient and irritable too, and when I’m in that kind of mood there’s almost no stopping me.
But with the skills that I’ve developed to regain my composure, it’s become much easier to catch myself and control my reactions, which makes listening to my kids much easier.
2. Prepare them to succeed
Now that we know that strengthening your relationship with your kids is key when it comes to getting them to listen, let’s talk about what it does for their sense of self.
Because when it comes to raising kids who are self assured, you guessed it, their relationship with you is at the heart of it.
Because from the moment they came into this world, your kids have turned to you to give them a sense of who they are.
By acknowledging, understanding and accepting who they are as individuals (even when they test every limit!) you are assuring them that they are good, worthy and valuable people.
And with that behind them, your kids are primed to take on whatever life hands them.
3. Keep good company
So it’s clear that the relationship you build with your kids today is shaping how they perceive you and themselves, but it is also shaping the quality of bonds that they will be able to build with others, such as their friends and romantic partners.
So, kids who have been lucky enough to have had parents who invest in their relationships with their kids, are more likely to choose friends and lovers who value them and respect them and treat them right.
So when I think about raising happy kids, the friends and future romantic partners they choose plays a pretty big part of that picture. Which makes me committed to doing everything I can to ensure that they choose wisely.
4. It makes life with kids more enjoyable
Life with kids is demanding! Way more than I had ever anticipated. In fact, some days it’s hard to appreciate the joys of parenting that I was guaranteed. But since investing in my relationship with my kids, life with them has become far more enjoyable. Not only because they cooperate better, but I’m able to enjoy the simple pleasure of learning about children, consciously contributing to their sense of self, and building a bond that will carry them into adult hood (even on the days that I just want to run away!).
5. It makes life more satisfying
I know that it’s the last detail on most parents’ list, but it still makes the cut, because after all, if you don’t consider your own well being, you can’t fully meet the needs of your kids’.
Until your kids fly the nest and start their own lives in years to come (it’ll happen before you know it!), you might as well reap the personal benefits of building a loving and lasting relationship with your kids. Because the skills it takes to build a loving a lasting relationship with your kids entail everything it takes to live a happy and fulfilled life as an separate individual; like learning about who you are, what makes you happy and how to achieve that.
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