How do you keep your children close to you from babyhood to adulthood? It is possible, you just need the right approach and philosophy…………………Every Day

How do you know if you have got it right with your children? How do you judge if you are a successful parent as you watch your child grow up? What mistakes and pitfalls can you avoid and what ones are inevitable? These questions and many more are always in the mind of you as a parent. What you do know is that you want to be the best parent possible to your child.

So where do you start? Right at the beginning, as soon as your child is able to communicate with you. This is the door through which you must walk with your child and never let it close on you. Open communication between you as your child grows up, will allow you to overcome virtually every problem that presents itself to you. In fact even before issues become problems.

As a parent, never have any subject which cannot be discussed openly by you and your child, however uncomfortable it is for you. Strategies like always having a special time of the day when you talk about what has gone on, for both you and your child, will really work. This could be at supper time, or when you child is in bed, or those tender moments just before going to bed. You will find that this lays the foundation for a very strong relationship as your child grows up, and will make your bond together unshakeable.

At these special times, you also need to be telling your child your daily challenges as he needs to be able to relate and understand your world. Of course you need to tailor what you say depending on his age. You say your bit and encourage him to say whatever he wants to. You will be amazed at what you learn. The conversations will change as your child grows older, but will always be open and frank. Those key links you build together will always work whether your child is 2 or 22.

It is really worth making the effort on this, and you and your child will have created a bond which will help you both, and enhance your relationship together for the rest of your lives.

How can you stay close to your Teenager as your relationship changes? It is a real challenge.

When your child becomes a teenager, the dynamics of your relationship changes dramatically, so you need to evolve and become a different kind of role model. He will be mixing with a wide variety of individuals independently of you and it is important that you remain consistent in how you behave towards him. ‘Work hard … play hard’, is a very important philosophy you need to get through to your teenager, and to do this, you must lead by example.

As he will be trying new things during these years and following your example (where it suits him of course) try to avoid doing anything to excess yourself. While he needs to understand that he can enjoy himself, this must be linked to working hard, particularly at school. Therefore, he needs to see the example of ‘normal acceptable behaviour’ coming from his father.

It is vitally important that your child feels he can still communicate with you openly while he is a teenager. So this will be one of your biggest challenges during the next few years. So keeping all lines of communication open between you both is vital, and will influence strongly how your relationship with him develops. However difficult and awkward the subject is, you can never have a ‘bad conversation’ with your child, only a good one, even if it doesn’t feel like it at the time. With all the challenges facing him during this period of his life, this is where you will really benefit from the investment in time and effort you made with him during his earlier years.

It is during that period where you have laid the foundations, to allow you to stay connected during the extremely challenging times ahead of you. Your child is still very vulnerable when he is a teenager, but he neither believes nor realises this, and he will get sick of hearing you telling him this. He will be rebellious and very difficult to manage at times, so, your role really is to guide him through this stage of his life. Don’t worry, he will come out the other side, every child does, and hopefully with a sense of independence and respect for you, his mother, as well as other people. He will need this sense of value and perspective when he becomes an adult.

How important are you as a Role Model for your child?

Sometimes you can forget how important you are as a positive Role Model for your child, and just take this vital part of the Father child dynamic for granted. Your child will observe and copy everything you do, all the time, even if you are not aware he is doing it. Boys particularly will observe very closely what you as their father are doing.

As the joint most important Role Model in your child’s life, you have a huge responsibility to lead by example, however difficult it appears to be at times. The way you behave will be considered as normal and acceptable behaviour by your child. If you are considerate and calm, your child will be. If you are aggressive and loud, you child will also be like that. The question is always, ‘what constitutes a good Role Model for your child’?

Remember at all times, ‘your children are what you make them’. Whatever you are doing or saying you must always keep this in mind. Your child will reflect how you are towards them and others on a day to day basis. The following tips on being a good Role Model are fairly obvious, and certainly not meant as a lecture, but only as an ‘aide memoire’ and is also certainly not an exhaustive list. The goal is simply to help you improve the quality of your child’s life going forward as they pass through childhood.

Work hard at what you do (paid or unpaid)

Be nice to people, even if they irritate you

Be polite and kind to everyone you come across in life

Be tolerant of other people’s differences with you

Always help others if you are able to

Never be aggressive, nasty or react violently

Be a good citizen and respect the laws of the country

Be a good listener and give your time to people you meet

If you haven’t got anything nice to say about someone, then don’t say it at all

They all seem fairly obvious, but in the heat of the moment, we often forget. Your children look to you as their beacon and you must truly lead by example.

 

Does your child need complete darkness and silence to go to and stay asleep?

When you put your Toddler to bed at night, do you always make sure he is in complete darkness and everyone in the house is quiet? If this is what you do, have you asked yourself why do you do it? It is a complete myth that a young child needs total silence in order to go to sleep. If he is tired, he will sleep and if he is not, he won’t. It really is as simple as that.

Additionally, how many times have you seen a young child fast asleep in his parents arms in bright sunshine and outdoors? Many times I’m sure.

So when you put your child to bed, you don’t need to close the door. In fact, if you do that from an early age, you may even start creating a fear of the dark for later years. With his door open, if he does wake up in the night, he can hear the rest of the family and any general household background noise and this will be reassuring for him. If you can leave a small night light in his room, or maybe the bathroom light on, it will be even better.

This may even help him in later life and encourage him, when he is a teenager, to leave his bedroom door open and not close himself away for hours on end. If doors have always been open since he was a baby, it will not be so natural for him to always keep it shut. This way, he may become less insular and distanced from the rest of the family during this challenging period of his life.

Something as simple as an open door at bedtime when your child is a Toddler, can really help promote good habits when he is older and these good habits die very hard in later years.

 

 

Do your Children long for things they had when they were very young? If so, how can you manage this?

When children reach the teenage years, or even early adulthood, very often they long for things that they had when they were very young. These things give them certainty, particularly during the period of their lives when they are most insecure. As your child sees herself changing both physically and mentally, it can be very difficult for her to manage, so she thinks back to things that have comforted her in the past and which made her feel happy and secure.

These could be things like an old cuddly toy, a blanket, a special chair, or her favourite doll. If it is your son, it could be an old toy car or plane. But whatever it is, you as a Father must resist the temptation to stop her having this comfort item. Of course you won’t do it deliberately, but try to avoid making her feel that she is weak or inadequate in some way, for needing something she had as a Toddler. Remember this gives her certainty during a time when she is at her most vulnerable psychologically and also adapting to her changing physical appearance.

Her childhood is changing, the old times as a little child are becoming more distant, everything is in a state of flux. The nature of her relationship with you and her mother is different now, not to mention those with her friends and potential new boyfriends or if you have a son, girlfriends. So if an old cuddly toy, or special chair, or even an old bed can make your child feel better about herself, don’t discourage it. In fact be really supportive and even actively try to help her find what she is looking for. She will thank you for being so understanding, although, as a teenager, she may not want to admit it quite yet….

How important is playing with your children or should they be left to play on their own?

It is a Dad’s eternal dilemma! Actually a Mum’s as well. Should you always be available to play with your child or leave them sometimes to play on their own? The answer of course, is that it is a balance, sometimes they need you to play with them and other times they should be left to play on their own. Of course it is always more interesting for them if you are stimulating and interacting with them, but time on their own is just as important.

Opportunities to discover new things without you always guiding them is invaluable. Whether it is in a play pen when they are one year old, trying to fit the round object into a square hole, or when they are seven years old and trying to build a model airplane, time on their own is invaluable learning time for them.

The most precious gift you can give your child is your time and your child, although not appreciating it consciously when he is a Toddler, will certainly do so when he is older. So sometimes you may feel guilty that you aren’t spending enough time with your child. But you shouldn’t feel bad about it. If your child really wants you to be with him, he will let you know. Children have a way of communicating how they feel about any situation depending on what age they are. Of course as he gets into his teenage years, he will probably want to do even less with you. But that’s for discussion another day.

So play with your child as often as you can, he will love it, but don’t feel bad when you can’t and he is playing on his own. If you really care about him, and you wouldn’t be reading this Blog if you didn’t, you know he will be fine.

 

 

Your child only has one chance to make a first impression!

A key social skill that your child needs to learn at a very young age is the ability to make a good first impression. He will only ever have one chance to do this with everyone he meets. So whether it is for an entrance interview to a new school, or a job interview, or meeting a new business contact to seal that important sales contract, first impressions are vital. So how can you help your child to succeed at this?

You can start at a very young age, when he is only a Toddler and encourage him to stop whatever he is doing when someone arrives at your house and go and positively greet them. A firm handshake, whether you have a son or a daughter, will always start the first meeting off in a good way. By stopping what he was doing, shows your visitor that he is important and worth stopping everything to go and say hello to. All your visitors will appreciate this from your child.

When your child greets your guest, encourage him to look the person straight in the eye when he says hello. Many children will look down or away when they first greet someone, so encourage your child to make immediate eye contact. Your child is not inferior to your guest, so being deferential is not needed. Your guest will certainly notice the confidence and warmth of the greeting from your child and will appreciate it. Your child will also feel good about himself and it will help his self confidence.

Not only will this make a good first impression, but it also shows your child has good manners, which will just reinforce the excellent impression that your child has created. This is a very important communication and life skill and will be liked by everyone. It will help make your child a positive and outward going individual, which is a great social skill for him to have as he grows up and moves into adulthood.

First impressions last, and you should make sure your child knows this. He will thank you in later life.