I had my first child at 22, about 13 months after I got married. It was difficult, because I had no clue how to be a mother; I was young, naive, and believed that simply reading books about motherhood would teach me everything I needed to know. I had older aunts and cousins giving me advice about it too, but I had the shock of my life when the books and advice turned out to be wrong. With a husband who wasn’t too involved in raising the kids, the full burden of being a parent fell on my shoulders.
Fast forward nineteen years and two more kids later, I became a single mother of three children. And if I speak truthfully, that was the easiest part of being on my own, because I always had a close relationship with my children.
I had no clue what I was doing at the time, but now, looking back, I can see what worked for me.
Here are ten things you can do start doing with and for your kids to create a special bond.
1- Laugh Together
It is so important to allow yourself just to enjoy silly things with your children. Laughing together will enable you to understand your child better and create a bond of joy.
2- Trust Them
Trust your children, until, of course, they give you a reason not to. Tell them that you trust them to make the right choices, and this will give them confidence in themselves.
3- Genuinely Believe in Them
Believing in your child allows them to believe in themselves. They will know that no matter what life throws at them, they have a parent who believes in their capabilities, and that strength alone can help them through difficult times.
4- Be Vulnerable
Show your children your fears and insecurities. Trying to be superhuman in front of them does no favors, to you or to them. Let them know that you have the same vulnerabilities as they do. You don’t always have to be the strong one they can depend on; you also may need to lean on them during difficult times.
5- Follow Your Dreams
When you follow your own dreams, it allows your kids to do the same. They see that it’s okay to go after your passions, and it permits them to become fearless and courageous.
6- Admit Your Mistakes
If you got upset for no reason at all, or had unrealistic expectations from them, accept your mistakes. Parents are human, and we are allowed to make mistakes.
7- Sit and Talk
In today’s busy world, we plan so many things for our kids: soccer, piano, after-school activities, basketball, etc. And with all this running around, we forget to actually talk. Children grow up way too fast, and if we don’t communicate, pretty soon we don’t know them.
8- Accept Them
Most importantly, accept them for who they are instead of trying to change them. As parents, we have to give them guidelines, but they come into this world ready to be the person they were meant to be.
9- Show Them Through Actions
Children learn from observing, not by telling. If you always ask them to be compassionate, yet you aren’t kind yourself, they will never embrace it. For children, talk is just noise.
10- Be Happy!
Happiness is contagious. If you exude joy, they will too. Teach them to be optimistic by being optimistic yourself.
Of course, I am not a perfect parent; none of us are. But we do have a choice, and that is to either repeat the mistakes we have made, or to correct them and change ourselves moving forward. Our parents weren’t perfect, and neither are we. We can never raise perfect children, but we can give them the skills to constantly improve themselves and learn from life.
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