The first step to raising a happy, confident and successful child lies in developing a strong bond with your child. Without that bond with your child, how else can you guide them, teach them and shape them?
It is easy to assume authority over a child as a parent and expect your children to obey you – I gave birth to you so you should do as I say – but relationships go both ways. If you want a child to seek your advice and to listen to you, the child has to trust you. Before a child can trust you, he or she needs to have some sort of bond with you.
This is especially important in the early years of your child’s life – and hence the reason why I think it is important for one parent to stay at home and look after the children (but more about this in another post). And if you can’t stay at home for whatever reasons, it is even more critical to make it up to your child as much as you can when you can – not through gifts and toys but with time. There is nothing that speaks volumes to a child about how important he or she is but dedicated time devoted to them by a loving parent. It is important that your child is aware how much you love them and understands why you can’t be with them.
Although it is still possible for parents to build the bond when the child is older, I believe it is more difficult and requires a lot more effort. A child who lacks that bonding with his or her parents is less likely to seek advice or receive feedback from his or her parents in times of difficulty. It might be resentment that prevents them approaching their parents for help – “You didn’t care about me when I was little, why should I care what you have to say now?” – or a lack of confidence that their parents will help.
Think about it – when you have a problem, who is the first person you approach to talk to about it? Why that person and not someone else? Because you know that you will get the support you need from that person. You certainly aren’t likely to approach someone you don’t know or don’t feel comfortable with. Likewise, our children are no different. Therein lies the problem if you want to raise a happy, confident and successful person if you do not have a strong bond with them.
How does a parent build that bond with a child? It might sound like a no-brainer, but the fact is, not all parents know how to bond with their children. You would think that something like this should be instinctive and that it should come naturally to all parents. Unfortunately, it doesn’t. For some parents it does come naturally, for others, it is like learning a foreign language.
If bonding with your child was easy, then I’m sure you won’t need to read this. But if you are like me, you might find what I have to say interesting. I was one of those parents who didn’t know how to bond with my son when he was born. It was through certain parenting techniques that I adopted that I slowly began to understand my son and build a relationship with him.
Again, I think it should be stressed that every parent and child is different. What works for one parent and child doesn’t necessarily work for another. The important thing is that you keep looking until you find something that works for you and your child. It may even be different for each child that you have.
These were some of the things that I practiced with my son in the early days which I found helped me to cement that bond with him:
I’ll write more about these in the following blog posts.
If you are a mother who found it difficult bonding with your baby, please share some of your experiences on the things that you did which helped you bond more easily.