As a parent my goal is to have a positive bond with my child and I believe that by building a connected relationship between us we can develop a co-operative environment that is fun and enjoyable to be a part of. I want our house to be a fun, caring, safe environment, so that as my son grows up he is proud to be part of the family and happy to bring friends home. I'm sure that many parents reading this want the same thing, but it's not always easy to do.
I have spent hours developing a connection with my son since he moved in and becoming a parent he knows he can trust, which as an adopted child he hasn't had before. It's not perfect but we are definitely further along our path than when we started. I'm single and there's only the two of us, so it does make life a bit easier.
So how have I built our relationship? I've focused on raising what we call Parental Presence in NVR (Non-Violent Resistance) which is the philosophy I now base my parenting on. (You can find a description of NVR on my site here ). Since finding out about this way of parenting and living, things have really changed for the better at home. It's not quick or easy but it does work.
So how do you raise your presence?
1. By spending quality time with your child. Quantity isn't as important, it's all about the quality. Spending short amounts of quality time together regularly is going to have a greater impact on your relationship than being at home together all day but hardly interacting.
2. By doing things together on a regular basis, where they have your undivided attention. Put your phone down and focus on your child, Facebook can wait until later. You could play games together, go to the park or watch a movie together.
3. By showing them you love them, irrespective of any negative behaviour. Spending time with them helps them to see you love them, even if they have behaved inappropriately.
By focusing my parenting on developing my parental presence it made a big difference. These ideas seem so obvious but in our busy lives it's not always easy and if you have a child who experienced significant early childhood trauma their behaviour can make you not want to do any of the above. That's when it's even more important that you do. By spending quality time with them you are not only helping them to see you in a positive light but also helping to remind yourself of the positive feelings you have for your child. It really helped me and I know it has impacted other parents positively as well.
There are other ways you can raise your presence and show them how much you love them, as well as spending time with them. For instance, you could put a note in their lunch box, cook them their favourite meal or buy them a little treat. Spontaneous gestures work so well, it gives a real sense of happiness and pleasure. These gestures are a great way to show your child you love them and something I do all the time. I do these as well as spending quality time with my son, it's not an either or situation try and do both.
So why not give it a go? You've got nothing to lose and everything to gain.