To bond with your child, communicate!

The lines of communication between
parents and their children can get fuzzy at times. The life of a parent can be
very hectic. A schedule can get quite full with work, keeping up with the
running of the house, helping with homework and putting dinner on the table.
Some find it easier to compensate for the lack of personal time to show their
affections by giving their children material things. According to popular TV
host, Dr. Phil, communication between parents and their children is essential.
It gives children the tools to build and maintain a loving and productive
relationship.

The former psychologist, who
specialises in family relationships, believes that children want to be heard so
that they know that their feelings are being considered. It’s crucial that
parent give their undivided attention and listen to their children’s opinions
daily. This will give the children a sense that their opinion is valued, which
will encourage them to further open the lines of communication.

Written communication

Local newspaper columnist, father
of two, and author of two novels, Guy Harrison, shares some of his parenting
techniques. He acknowledges the perpetual ups and downs along with the rewards.

“Being a parent is a wild ride. All
the stress and sacrifice that come with it would be unbearable if not for the
infinite joy that comes with… watching them grow up. It can be tough but in
the end it’s a journey well worth taking,” he said.

In terms of balancing a busy
schedule with his children he thinks, “It’s simple; make time. Everybody is
busy but there is always time to read a Dr. Suess book or play one game of tag
in the backyard.”

To commemorate his relationship
with his children, he wrote a book for each of them. “What I have done is write
books … that are only for them. I write down my observations, memorable
quotes they produce, details of our trips, movies we saw together, and I share
my thoughts and feelings about who they are. I also include poetry, lists, news
of the times, personal advice and as much wisdom as I can muster.”

Through these books Mr. Harrison
has given his children a special keepsake.

“Photographs, videos and
conversations are all great, but nothing works quite as well as a few paragraphs
of thoughtful writing…They will feel the love I have for them across time.
The personal books I give to them will be my deepest and most honest thoughts
about them…

“My children have always been an
inspiration to me,” he said, “so it is natural that I would devote some time to
writing things specifically for them.”

He also recognises that honesty and
critical thinking are significant aspects to have in this somewhat crazy life.
“I don’t just record and comment on their glorious victories. I mention their
stumbles and disappointments too.”

He plans give the books as a gift
for them to open when they become adults. He hopes that they will appreciate
the honest and comprehensive glimpses of their childhood that he left for them.

Verbal communication

If you don’t have a flare for
written communication, verbal is also another effective way to strengthen a
relationship. Eva Balls, proud parent of two and owner of Eva’s Nail Salon, has
some tips on how she believes verbal communication is a key aspect of successful
parenting.

“I make sure to take an interest in
all aspects of my children’s lives. That way they know they can confide in me.

“The key is to be an active
listener at all times, even if the topic is trivial. That way when something
serious comes along they won’t be scared to talk to me about it.”

Mrs. Balls thinks
that taking an active stance in your child’s life is absolutely essential. This
can be done by simply making a point to set aside personal talk-time with your
children at least once a day no matter how busy your day was. She believes this
will ultimately strengthen the bond between you and your child.

Feature Story

Family bonding is built on communica-tion
Photo: File
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