Every parent knows it’s crucial to spend quality time with children, and while the idea of it sounds easy enough, it’s often difficult to pull off. Children, after all, aren’t mere extensions of you. They’re their own person, and even at a young age, they’ll have their own preferences in toys, colors, food, and other things. When they end up developing personalities and inclinations different from yours, the gap further widens.
However, the truth is that differences aren’t the biggest reason you can’t seem to bond no matter what you do. If you’re interested in resolving this issue and building a stronger relationship with your children, here are three reasons you should reflect on to see if they apply to you.
Make Time for Discovery
Some parents and children click. They like the same things and end up bonding over them all the time. Some need a little more time and effort figuring out what works for them.
There’s no shame in trying out all sorts of activities to find the answer to this. Throughout the years, you may have to continue making a conscious effort to discover your evolving preferences.
Maybe when they were eight, going to amusement parks were your thing. Now that they’re teenagers, it could be going shopping, watching movies, or working on a passion project together. Change is normal, and if you can’t go along with it, you won’t be able to spend time with your children the way you want to.
Better Theirs than Yours
Put their hobbies, passions, and inclinations above yours. While you must find something you equally like, your children will want to do activities that aren’t your cup of tea. You may want to linger for hours in New York museums, but if they want to take voice lessons instead, don’t talk them out of it. Indulge them, and by all means, make a sincere effort to appreciate it the way they do. If singing is their passion, signing up for private classes with them is a great way to communicate your desire to have a healthy relationship with them.
Supporting them this way also benefits their self-confidence and sense of security. There’s nothing like the unabashed love of a parent to guarantee that they’ll grow up into well-rounded adults.
Treating them Like Children
Let your children make decisions. Not having any say in what activities you do, the food you eat, outfits they wear, and similar things reduce their interest in spending time with you. Why would they like it when you get everything you want and they follow?
Raising children who cannot make their own decisions will turn them into insecure adults. They’ll either depend on you for everything or rebel against your day-to-day choices. If they end up disliking their decision, then it’s a chance to teach them accountability. Emphasize the importance of self-discovery, too, so that they’ll better appreciate the journey to knowing what they like and don’t like. It’s also a journey to getting to know them.
All too often, parents make the mistake of thinking they know their children simply because they raise them. It’s not until you’re listening to their choices and going along with them that you realize they’re completely different people than the ones you imagined.
Appreciate Each Other’s Company
Above all, be grateful for each moment you get to spend together. In the process of discovering your similarities and differences, you’ll get to appreciate one another as individuals. If you pursue this endeavor with that mentality, then even a day in an amusement park during stormy weather can also be a good memory.