Right now, you know everything about your little one’s life. Daily happenings, their deepest worries, what makes them happy, who their playgroup friends are… You get the drift. But the fact is, as children grow older, they gain independence and a sense of privacy that might lead to some distance in-between. While this isn’t the case for all children, some parents might have trouble gleaning even the smallest details of their kids’ life.
As parents who want only the best for our kids, the thought of our child keeping mum when facing difficulties (or worse, trouble!) can be slightly terrifying. After all, we all can understand the appeal of seeking advice from our peers instead of confiding in our parents (and getting in trouble as a result).
While there’s no sure-fire method to guarantee that our children will continue to come to us whenever life gets challenging, nurturing an open and honest relationship is a good first step. But that itself is a challenging process that has to begin from young. Ahead, we share some tips to encourage your growing child to confide in you.
Getting upset when your child gets in trouble is perfectly normal, but don’t follow that instinctive reaction to yell or tell them how much trouble they’re in, and how angry you are. Instead, listen to what your child is saying and work through calmly. By reacting negatively, your child learns that they shouldn’t tell mummy/daddy anything to avoid upsetting them.
“How are babies made?”; “Is grandpa dying?”; “Why did you send my pet to the animal farm?”
Kids ask plenty of questions that you may not feel ready to answer, but shying away from difficult topics can send the wrong message. To help your child feel comfortable enough to open up about even the most embarrassing of secrets, build a common understanding that they can approach you about anything and everything.
Start from giving honest, age-appropriate answers and as your child gets older, broach deeper conversations where they can share their honest thoughts and opinions without parental judgement.
Make time for them
Like any other relationship, the bond with your child has to be nurtured, especially as they grow older. And it’s not about how many presents you’ve bought; it’s about how much time you spend with them. Whether it’s going on a simple ice-cream date or staying in for a fun movie night, spending quality time with your child (no matter how old they are) helps them know that you’ll be there no matter what.