How to cope your distant child
Md Altaf Hussain :
Parenting is one of the toughest jobs in the world and every parent desires to get it right. But the crucial thing to remember is that there is no 'right' way of parenting.
The key to success here is to identify oneâ€™s own style of parenting that not just disciplines the child but also helps them grow into a compassionate and a responsible adult.
What usually happens when you ask your child how his day was or what's on his mind? If you are like most parents, your children often answer with a vague â€˜fineâ€™ or say nothing at all. And when you continue to press them for information, they quickly grow annoyed and stomp away in a huff. To them, your seemingly innocent and thoughtful questions come across as nosy and nagging rather than caring. Nothing shuts down a talkative teenager more quickly than asking a probing and pointed question.
The universal rules for successful parenting may vary the one thing that remains constant are some parenting errors. Repeatedly doing these will only distant a child away from the parents. What's a parent to do?
Your relationship with a distant child is important
The relationship with a distant child is not defined by how many hugs and kisses they do or don't give you. Their distance may actually reflect how secure they feel in themselves and this is a really positive thing for a developing child.
Another part of your relationship with your distant child that is really significant is what they learn from you in terms of social referencing. How you interact with them and the rest of the world provides an important blueprint for all their future relationships. This far outweighs the importance of cuddles and kisses for a distant child and makes your relationship with them, the most significant relationship they have.
Overreaction to minor mistakes
Having rules are important but having too many unreasonable ones can cause a rift in the parent-child relationship. Constant over reactions to minor mistakes will only lead to the child ignoring the parents completely. The key is to control the reactions and deliver them in a matured manner so that the child can feel the gravity of the situation when parents do choose to react negatively.
A distant child needs their parent
Parenting is about responding to a child's needs regardless of their temperament. You know it can be emotionally quite tough for a parent if a child seemâ€™s to reject their love and affection, but trust you when you say it can be a positive sign and nuture your parenting in other areas where you can meet your child's needs. They will have plenty of needs you can respond too, but they might not be quite so obvious. Example your 4 year old daughter needs lots of comfort from you and her mom, but she also needs firm boundaries too. Your job as a parent is to tick all the boxes, even the ones you do not like so much.
Validate their emotions
Emotional safety comes from within. It begins by teaching your child to identify and be comfortable with different emotions. Dismissing kids' emotions makes it harder for them to deal with those emotions even in future. Worse, it may lead to the development of secondary emotions such as shame or fear.
Make use of everyday opportunities to help kids connect with their emotional selves. Speak of emotions in a non-accusatory manner. When our kids know that their emotions are valid, they are more likely to react to them in appropriate ways.
For example, when you tell your child you understand his disappointment for not getting the toy he wants, you not only help him put a name on his emotions, you also enable him to understand those emotions better.
Love your child
Author William Martin once said, â€œYou do not have to make your children into wonderful people. You just have to remind them that they are wonderful people. If you do this consistently from the day they are born, they will believe it easily.â€
Loving your child as is means creating a sense of safety. Tell your child he means the world to you and give him opportunities to feel good about himself. Let him know that he can count on you. Tell him that your world wouldnâ€™t be the same if he werenâ€™t in it.
Spending very little quality time
According to research, the quality of time spent with a child is more effective than the quantity. Parents bond with their toddler is strongly nurtured when they are actively engaged in activities with him/her. Being overly present or being too busies for the child can also distant them from their parents.
As parents we only want the best for our child but when this enthusiasm goes too far we start hyper parenting. This is nothing but an over-involved, over-protective and an over-indulgent way of parenting that can harm a childâ€™s social development and affect their confidence levels. Apart from having a negative effect on how they learn and develop it can also distant a child away from the parents.
Listen first, and then react
So much is communicated in what is left unspoken. Remember that much of kidsâ€™ behaviour is driven by emotions. Before you react, listen to the unsaid.
When you do respond, be intentional about how you communicate. Remember that voice is a powerful tool-your tone of voice speaks volumes.