The parent-child attachment is the enduring emotional relationship we have with our children. It is what creates feelings of love, warmth, joy, affection & tenderness. It is what drives us to protect and nurture those we love. In this article, learn more about connection parenting and how we can make these moments happen
Our bodies can flood with intensely positive emotions through any number of moments in our parenting – when our new baby reaches out and grabs our finger; when a soccer player gets his first goal and runs straight to us to share his joy or when our seemingly distant teen seeks comfort from us. There are so many of these moments of deep connection in our parenting. I think they are what keep us going – I know they are what keeps me going.
Connection is at the heart of our parenting
Parenting is not just about loving our kids. Our relationships take hard work and require knowledge, skill, and persistence. Out of them all, connection is the most important skill we can bring to our parenting because it forms the foundation for every interaction we have with our children – now and throughout their entire lives.
The interesting thing about relationships is that when we reach out and connect, both of us are positively affected – in parenting this means that we feel better as parents and we help our kids to feel better as well.
Connection helps in:
- Creating feelings of closeness, warmth and pleasure.
- Motivating positive behaviour
- Soothing big emotions
- Associating us to the smart part of our brain so that we can problem solve and regulate our behaviour more effectively.
Now let’s address the ‘how’ part of this conversation –
How to make these moments of connection happen?
- Our first step is to manage our own emotions – breathe, relax whatever part of our body holds tension, sip some water, become aware of our voice tone and facial expressions. This is an amazing thing that happens during the parent-child connection. As we calm, relax and soothe ourselves, our children notice that and automatically mimic what we are doing.
- The second step is to tune into what we think is going on with our kids – this means practicing empathy. The more we are able to understand their feelings and emotions, the better we can tune in to connect with them. Empathy fuels connection and ultimately helps manage those big emotions.
- The third step is to offer a simple gesture of love or affection – a hug, a warm smile whatever gesture your child will welcome.
Once we have connected with our child, tuned into their feelings, communicated our understanding of what they might be feeling and offered support or comfort, we are both aligned to solve the problem.
We call this the ‘C-B-C’ rule of parenting; Connect before Correct. When we connect first, before correcting or directing their behaviour, the outcome can be very different.
So, let us understand ‘Connection to Change Behaviour’, that is how connecting with our children can help in moulding their behavior.
Children do not always have the language to tell us what they need, so, they communicate their needs through their behaviour. If we don’t recognize behaviour as a means of communication, we try to change the behaviour instead of meeting the need expressed by the behaviour. But this gives only temporary solutions. Helping parents with a solution which gives them more stability in their parenting journey is what my work is all about. Below I am sharing 5 simple yet effective steps for any parent to leverage ‘Connection Parenting’:
5 Effective Steps Through Which Parent’s Can Leverage ‘Connection Parenting’
- Find out why: It’s important to first find out the ‘why’ behind the behaviour. This needs you to go beyond what only appears on the surface.
- Calm yourself first: Hold onto your calm as this will help you to connect better with your child.
- Try to find ways that help you to connect with your child, being very mindful of your voice tone and body language.
- Find a solution: Once you and your child are able to calmly make a connection try to seek a possible solution together.
- Restore and reconnect: Finally restore their sense of self and reconnect with them to let them know that it’s all done and dusted.
Children do well if they can. If they can’t we need to figure out the “Why”, so we can help. Real parenting is about being connected with our children by being authentic and transparent and we must remember that connection brings influence over their decisions and actions. And with disconnection comes misbehaviour and outbursts. Ultimately, we can fill their love cup with meaningful connections and raise these little humans as fulfilled adults.