Create A Stronger Bond With Your Children
I remember holding my daughter in my arms for the very first time. My heart was overwhelmed with love and my soul felt full. At that very moment, a bond was formed; a mystic tie that binds a mother to her child. Pulling us away from one another was like trying to remove two glued papers. Until her siblings started to arrive. Her need to feel loved and connected increased as my time and energy decreased. Taking the time to strengthen our bond was just not a top priority.
My story is not unique. Work, responsibilities, and everyday life happen. As parents, we find ourselves stretched thin and unable to take the time to strengthen the bond we have with our children. But here’s the good news. Strengthening the bond with your child doesn’t require a lot of time. Here are simple ways you can create a stronger bond.
1. Learn their love language.
Marriage counselor Gary Chapman developed the concept that different people express and receive love differently. In his book The Five Love Languages, Chapman identifies five different expressions of love. They are:
- Words of Affirmation,
- Acts of Service,
- Receiving Gifts,
- Quality Time, and
- Physical Touch.
As a parent, it is important to understand the way your child needs to receive love. For example, let’s say you express love by giving gifts. Every time you think of your little one you buy her something because you want her to feel love. But what if her love language is quality time?
While she might enjoy your gift, she may still feel disconnected. If you took her on a short walk instead you would have strengthened the bond you have.
Because to her, you are showing that you love her, like her, and understand her.
This is the key to bonding with children. They need to feel like they are important and cared for. So knowing the way your child needs to be loved and loving them in that form, is the first step to creating a stronger bond.
(You can find out their love language here.)
Communication is something we do every day. We communicate our likes and dislikes, happiness and sadness. We are constantly telling our children what to do and how to behave. But there is so much more to communication than expressing ourselves.
Part of communication is listening. As parents, it is imperative to master the art of listening. Now, there are two forms of listening; listening to reply and listening to understand. When we listen to reply, our goal is to get our point across.
When this occurs, our child will walk away feeling misunderstood, unheard and unimportant. The complete opposite of bonding. Listening to understand on the other hand, strengthens these bonds and children are more likely to open up. Here are some ways to show you are listening to understand.
- Maintain eye contact.
- Use your body. Nod your head, smile and lean in.
- Don’t interrupt.
- Repeat what they said.
- Respond to what they said.
3. Create rituals
As Muslims, we have the ritual of Salah. Five times a day we give our undivided attention to our Creator. Not because He needs it, but because we need it.
These moments throughout the day strengthen our bond with Him.
Similarly, creating rituals or customs with our children will strengthen our bond. It doesn’t have to be extravagant. It can be playing a particular game on a certain day of the week or going on an errand together. Grabbing ice cream or doing each other’s hair. Whatever it is remember to incorporate their love language.
4. Take time for yourself.
Now, this may seem off-topic, but I promise it’s not. The easiest way to weaken our bond is by making our child feel like a burden.
Children are very keen on our emotions. They know when something is just not right. The problem is they are not able to view our emotions objectively. To them, it is always personal. That is why it’s important to take time for yourself. This will allow you to be the best parent you can for your children.
Think of it as a pitcher. You are the pitcher and your children are cups. Everyday you pour into them. After a while, the pitcher will become empty and there is no more to give. However, if you keep your pitcher full, you can continue to give to them.
So take the time to fill up with things that make you happy so you are able to spread happiness to them.
Strengthening the bonds with your child only requires a willingness to try these simple yet potent steps:
Learning their love language, communicating, creating rituals, and taking time for yourself.
Jacqueline grew up in New York and would later move to Pennsylvania as a teenager. There, she would become a teen mother and wife. As a young mother, she quickly found herself overwhelmed and stuck in the parenting patterns passed down to her. After doing the self-work required, she decided to get her certification in coaching to help moms just like her.
Jacqueline is now a ‘Transformational Coach.’ She empowers and supports overwhelmed moms so they can parent from a place of purpose and connection.
She offers one-on-one coaching and provides parenting tips and motivation through her group, The Maven Moms Club.