Although we often forget it, love goes far beyond relationships. The emotional bond that unites parents with their children is usually one of the strongest that exists. Parents can make sacrifices for the well-being of their children (or not so children).
However, the simple fact of having descendants and forming a new family does not guarantee that the affective relationships that exist between the two generations of the family are always strong, or that they are stable and of good quality. Problems between parents and children are more frequent than we imagine , and it is important to keep in mind that this is due to poor management of relationships: something that can be avoided.
Below we’ll look at some guidelines on how to make the parent-child relationship healthy and, if there are any, to make old grudges and resentments a thing of the past. No conflict has to last forever.
How to strengthen the relationship between parents and children
In the relationships of affection that are established between parents and children, a small change in attitude can cause anger and conflicts that seemed to be entrenched to disappear at a surprising speed.
Even if there is not resentment but indifference , it is perfectly possible to reconnect with the young by inviting them to engage in meaningful conversations and expressions of affection. Let’s see how.
1. Betting on physical contact
Although we often forget it, a good part of relationships are established through physical contact: kisses, hugs, caresses… That is why it is good to promote them in parent-child relationships, as long as they are unplanned and arise spontaneously . This advice consists not so much in “implanting” hugs, but in not repressing them.
2. Avoiding interrogations
One of the techniques used by parents to try to establish communication with their children is to pose a series of questions, which are usually answered in a brief way or with monosyllables by the young people, until they get tired and react with anger. This is a tactic that should be avoided, since is not usually effective in creating a fluid dialogue .
Instead, it is much better to bet on meaningful dialogue. If it is difficult to get the child’s attention, it is better to assume that and not force from the beginning what they are going to say to the questions (this usually overwhelms those who are not willing to get very involved in an interaction).
How to do it? By talking honestly about a topic that he or she may be interested in talking about. To do this, it is good to remember that form matters more than content (you can do a monologue on almost any topic, for example).
In this case, what gives interest to what is said is the fact that it expresses from the beginning that it is an honest, personal and intimate reflection on what is being talked about. Printing this layer of intimacy on the message will easily awaken empathy in the one who, in the end, is our son or daughter.
3. Managing schedules
Many times, the weakening of the ties that unite parents and children is caused by bad timing. All relationships depend on practice, not theory , and if time is not shared together, the fact of being “father of” and “son of” counts for little. It is necessary to make the schedule have a sufficient amount of time for family life.
4. Taking an interest in your world
Many parents assume that it is impossible to understand anything that belongs to their child’s generation. This, besides being a mistake in terms of family relationships, is totally false and is not supported by any side. Why would an adult be unable to inform himself and understand at least what are the interests and references of his children ? What there is, many times, are simple excuses for not having to face this task.
If our daughter is interested in mountaineering, for example, we don’t necessarily have to be interested, but we should understand what aspects of this activity make it stimulating, and in what way. In this way it is much easier to understand her world and her priorities and, of course, to empathise .
So, the next time you talk about something that interests you, adopt active listening and consider learning for real.
5. Keep your Smartphone away
Smartphones and tablets are very useful devices in many ways, but in face-to-face relationships they are distracting devices that wreak havoc on the quality of the interaction. That’s why any parent who wants to share quality time with their children should specifically take care that these elements remain far away when talking and share pleasant moments together.
6. Show good disposition
If you want to make your bond with your son or daughter stronger, show it by taking the first steps, even if sometimes your pride or stubbornness takes you back. Yes, it can go wrong, and yes, this gesture of rapprochement may not be reciprocated , but it is important to be clear that this step is indispensable and that, at the end of the day, we do not risk anything relevant in it in case we are rejected.