2) Be careful with RIGIDNESS in enforcing household rules. Parents can do a dis-service to their children when they have too many rules. Trust is the key to building healthy family relationships. It is essential for parents to articulate their expectations well and follow this up with consistent, fair consequences.
3) Families need RITUALS that foster togetherness. Embrace the benefits of families eating together several times a week, having meetings where each member can have a say, and outings where a son or a daughter has alone time with a parent (not as a punitive event), but a fun time where you laugh and learn more about one another.
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4) Helping them develop their LEGACY. In helping them develop as a person, it is important to educate children on the highs and lows of our extended relationships. You can talk to them about deceased family members, visit gravesites and childhood homesteads, share memories of your upbringing, and the good and bad lessons you learned along the way. When you are vulnerable with your child, it will help them to open up and relate in real ways.
5) Model appropriate use of WORDS in your communication to the children and in front of them. Parents can devastate or hinder reconnection by using ill-conceived language during times of frustration such as “You always….” Or “You never….”. This can really destroy their confidence in re-bonding with you and potentially in other important relationships. It is important that they hear words like “I love you,” “You are valued and special,” “Thank you” and “Everything is going to be okay” on a regular basis. Also, be sure to share that you love them just for who they are and be specific in your compliments. If you build love in your children, they will not lack self-confidence.
The above guidelines may seem simple; however, when it comes to reconnecting with your children, they are very powerful. It is important that COMPASSION, COMMUNICATION and COMMITMENT are consistently shown to connect with them through the rebuilding process and beyond.
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Chess, S. & Thomas, A. (1987). Knowing Your Child. New York: Basic Books and Thomas, A. & Chess, S. (1977). Temperament and Development. New York: Bruner-Mazel.