How to Build Strong Bonds With Your Children
Building strong bonds with your children isn’t just important for their growth and development – it’s important for yours as a parent too.
The Australian family is changing, moulded by evolving technologies, environments and societal values. While it may seem that bonding with your children is impossible due to pressures at work or distractions from technology, there are some straightforward and practical strategies you can use to strengthen your family unit.
3 Simple ways to strengthen your bond as a family
Building a healthy bond with your children takes time and effort. To give you some inspiration, here are simple ways to get started.
Take an interest in their hobbies
Between working and running the kids around, finding time to enjoy a hobby can prove tricky. So, why not take an interest in your children’s hobbies instead? Whether it’s oil painting, guitar lessons, cooking or building Lego, spending time together doing a hobby is a fantastic way to strengthen your bond.
Among other benefits, playing with your child deepens trust and communication. It also builds their self-esteem, wellbeing, and social skills. It also gives you a chance to teach them new skills and help them embrace new experiences.
Recognise and acknowledge what’s important to them
Whether it’s deliberately or unknowingly, we often push our thoughts, opinions and needs onto our children. While it’s good to encourage them in certain areas, you should also step back and recognise what’s actually important to them.
How do you do this? Let them develop their interests naturally. This enhances their feeling of self-worth and independence, giving them the go-ahead to explore the world around them.
It’s up to you to pay attention. Chat about your child’s likes and dislikes, praise them for trying new things, motivate them to stay engaged, and help facilitate their interests. If you’re going to push them, it’s important to push them in the direction they want to go.
Recognise when to give them their space
Everyone needs space – children included. Respecting their personal space is an important way to not only give them the freedom to thrive and become independent, but also teach them how to respect the personal space of others and become more socially adept.
You should never force a child to be affectionate if they don’t want to be. Instead, invite them to show affection on their terms. Every relationship is different, but try not to take harsh reactions personally. Ultimately, you need to separate your personal needs as a parent from the needs of your child.
Has technology affected the way families bond?
No matter what kind of family life you have, technology likely plays a role in the way you communicate – particularly on social media. But does this have a positive or negative effect on relationships?
On one hand, social media can be extremely distracting. You can end up spending hours on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or YouTube, trying to keep up with what’s happening, sharing content, or simply scrolling for no real reason. According to some studies, this can lead to reduced family bonding and interpersonal connections.
On the other hand, technology can be used to keep families connected, track each other’s schedules and whereabouts, share important moments, and help build a sense of security.
So, how does your family use technology? Data from the 2018 Australian Parents & Technology Report found parents typically spend an average of 19 hours a week connecting with their children through quality ‘family time,’ which 78.3% of parents consider ‘to be time away from digital appliances/applications or devices.
While it’s clear that technology can have positive and negative impacts on family bonding, striking the right balance is key. Ultimately, it’s your attitude towards screen time that will determine how technology will affect your family bond.
These are just a few suggestions. No two families are the same, so try out a few methods, be mindful of the impact technology has on bonding, and you’ll be creating stronger relationships sooner than you think.
Tatiana Day is a dedicated mum of three beautiful children who keep her on her toes! As Head of Corporate Affairs at Real Insurance and with a background in PR and journalism across Financial Services she is keenly interested in the evolving life of the modern Australian family and the pressures put on it. When she can find some downtime, Tatiana enjoys cooking, music and breathing in the great outdoors
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