Friendship is crucial to our general wellbeing. It is a major part of our support system as human beings. We are created and designed to be dependent on each other and as a parent, you have the golden privilege to be your children’s first friend.
Parenting and being a friend to your children don’t have to be mutually exclusive; the two can go together. You should strive to build a friendly relationship with your child while at the same time carrying out your parental duty of child training. Developing a unique and lasting bond with your children will enhance their emotional and social development.
Generally, children love to have parents who can be both PARENTS and FRIENDS to them. Of course yes!!!! But unfortunately, many parents have fallen into the trap of “present but absent parenting” because they don’t have time to discuss and share with their children.
Research has shown that one reason many children get involved in social vices today is because they have parents who are unavailable, unapproachable and too distant from them. If you want to groom your children into healthy, useful, responsible and fulfilled adulthood, you should befriend them by creating a connection with them.
There are several ways to do this. To start with, make your children a priority –your business, career or friends shouldn’t be your upmost priority. Be available and accessible to your children. Create and spend quality time with them. Every child has some basic emotional needs that should be met. So, identify their various needs (the need to feel loved, validated, accepted, supported, etc.) and take the pain to meet these expectations as much and as often as you can.
Love and care for your children passionately; appreciate, motivate and support them. It is your relationship with your children that gives them a sense of belonging, acceptance, and security.
Also, listen to and learn to respect your children’s opinions or views and treat them courteously. Be firm as a parent but don’t be harsh. Avoid sarcasm, yelling, anger or belittling comments. Be willing to accept them and correct them when they do make mistakes or do something wrong.
Never trivialise (insignificant), ridicule or ignore your children’s feelings or opinions; make your children feel important and unique. Help them develop a sense of value in a positive and constructive way. This will discourage them from seeking negative ways to get attention outside the home.
Maintain constant and effective communication with them. Be attentive; practice active listening and pay attention to every detail of their lives. Be sensitive; know their friends, their likes and dislike and so on.
A story was once told about of a little girl who repeatedly tried to tell her mother what her teacher was always saying and doing to her in school. But the mother didn’t pay attention. She dismissed her concerns, thinking that the teacher was only playing with her. But when the teacher impregnated the girl, it dawned on the mother that her negligence had destroyed her daughter’s life.
In addition, however, allow your children to participate in decision making; they might come up with useful suggestions. Be a good role model, be trustworthy and open to them. More importantly, note that your children will never have a balanced and fulfilled life without knowing their creator. Don’t forget that their relationship with God will help them to fulfill their destiny.
Courtesy to: Oduigwe, Chukwukere Cornelius and Maria. Love you all.