Every parent hopes to have a healthy relationship with their kids, yet I hear from a lot of parents who are struggling to connect with their children. Sometimes it hits at the teenage years, sometimes much younger. Parents reach out to me with concern over why their kid spends all of his or her time in their bedroom, or why they show so little respect or appreciation for their parents. Sometimes they can’t put their finger on it, but they feel like their relationship with their child is slipping through their fingers. There are a variety of factors that might make a parent-child relationship challenging, but I have found some common characteristics present when people share their stories with me.
One thing I have found is that there is a certain order to the steps or stages of a parent-child relationship. These are stages that build on one another. The healthiest parent-child relationship comes from intentional effort being put into each of these stages, in order. Hopefully looking at them will give us all a chance to reflect on our family and ask, “Where is our weakest link?” “Have we overlooked any of these steps or stages?” If there is a weakness in one area, it most often will affect your ability to positively move on to the next. (No judgement here, we’re all a work in progress.
Four steps to building a healthy relationship with your kids:
1—Bonding through time invested
The first stage of building a close relationship with your children is all about giving your kids the most sacred thing you possess: Your time. It begins…at the beginning…the nurturing of a baby…the “Watch me Mommy!” and “Stay with me Daddy!” moments of the toddler years. Kids need and crave time with a parent in every stage of life. This need does not diminish as a child grows up, though it does change. Kids also ask for our time and attention in new and different ways –and sometimes they don’t “ask” at all. Yet they still need it, and if you pay careful attention you’ll see how each one does ask for it in their own way. (Read More)
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