Adopting positive parenting habits will go a long way in nurturing a strong parent-child relationship, which is important especially as your child step towards adolescence.
During this transitional stage, children undergo many physiological and psychological changes that help them grow into unique individuals. As parents, we are responsible for guiding them through each stage, but as our child inevitably starts focusing on school, friends, and personal interests, our influence may become limited.
While adapting existing parenting techniques can be helpful, there are key habits that parents can build early on to create a positive relationship that extends beyond their angst-riddled, rebellious-filed formative years.
Eat family meals. Carve out time in your daily schedule to sit down for a meal as a family. Whether it’s a quick breakfast, weekend brunch or a chill dinner, use this time to reconnect with your kids and partner – no silent meals allowed!
Put away your phone. Chances are, your kid isn’t the only one who loves screen time. Because you’re the first person they look to for behavioural cues, making a conscious effort to stay away from your phone and focusing on quality time with your child will teach him to do the same as they grow older. Live in the moment and your child will learn from your example.
Keep updated. With ever-evolving technology, trends and lingo, staying in the know will help you stay relevant with your growing child, and alert you to possible dangerous behaviour. Plus, your child will already be used to your presence in every aspect of their digital life, so there won’t be as much resistance to your questions as there normally would.
Spend time with their friends. As your child’s social circle expands, make it a point to meet and get to know their friends. From organising playdates to throwing random get-togethers, making the effort to interact with your kid’s friends will make it easier for your child to share daily on-goings (and even gossip).
Get to know their interests. You mayn’t be to keen on participating in your child’s latest hobbies, but being open and willing to understand it goes a long way to establishing deeper bonds.
Encourage communication. You’ll find yourself asking plenty of questions as your child gets older, but encouraging open conversation will help communication go both ways. Similar to striking up a friendship, help your child be comfortable sharing about their day by reaching out with fun tidbits of your own. In time to come, your child will know that they can share anything and everything with you.