As parents, we are in a role of teaching our children so many things to help them prepare for adulthood. It is an important job, a difficult job and a very rewarding one. Our primary goal to to ensure that our children enter adulthood with sufficient skills in the areas of education, relationships, emotions and basic life skills so that they need to navigate successfully, both professionally and personally.family in sunset
Developing healthy, fulfilling relationships is perhaps the most important piece in experiencing happiness and contentment as adults. With a secure, loving and safe bond with another person, your child will feel supported and connected and able to manage the many challenges life throws his or her way.
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People that report feeling connected to others also report a greater satisfaction in their lives. Knowing this, the role parents play becomes ever more central to helping children learn about healthy relationships, strong attachments, bonding, trust, loyalty and security. If children can develop a secure attachment to their parents or a primary caregiver, then they will have this as their template for their own relationships with friends, family and a partner.
HOW DO WE, AS PARENTS, BUILD A SECURE ATTACHMENT TO OUR CHILDREN?
1. Be a role-model - showing a caring, trusting, supportive relationship for your children is VITAL to helping them see and experience a relationship that works - one in which the answer to the question "Are you there for me?" is "YES!" This doesn't mean that you and your partner never argue or disagree - what is means is that when they see you doing this, you don't resort to saying terrible things to each other, hurting each other, physically, or giving the silent treatment. It means they see you also resolve the issue and make amends with one another and return to a connection and positive relationship.
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2. Empathize and listen to your child's feelings - don't dismiss or discount their feelings. For example, if your son comes up to you and is crying because someone took his toy, reflect back to him - "You must be very sad about that. What do you need from me? Can I give you a hug to help you?". He'll feel that having sad feelings is OK and that you want to help him and are there to listen. This allows him or her to experience the feeling of "mirroring" where you reflect an understanding of his feelings. If this happens, he or she will know that they deserve that within a relationship in the future.
3. Be there when they need you - when your adolescent is upset about something - put down your work, ignore the cell phone, turn off the TV and just be there with your child - take the time to show you're available - even if they're not ready to discuss what's on their mind. Having you near by may be enough of a comfort and message that you care and are there to listen. You will be amazing at how often, if teenagers feel safe and secure, they will eventually open up to share their worries and concerns.