Growing up can be a difficult procedure. It includes facing fears, handling tough situations, making mistakes and learning from these mistakes. And, throughout this process of growing up, it is extremely important to have a guide, a confidant, a teacher and most importantly a friend. Parents are individuals who can play all these roles with ease and help the child grow up and become a strong, empathetic and smart person.
Friendship with children can be cultivated from the preschool age itself. You do not have to wait for the child to grow up, be an adult for you to be friends with him or her. That can be achieved from the very beginning by developing strong communication with children. Talk to them about the little things that bother them at school or home, about fights with their friends or siblings, or their feelings about a cartoon or an animated movie they recently saw. By talking about these things from the beginning, they will feel safe enough to talk to you about anything under the sun as they slowly grow up. It will lead to a feeling of security in the relationship. Children will not have to look for people they can trust and share their thoughts and issues with when they have a trustworthy friend in their parent right at home. Cultivate a relationship where they can confide in you about anything without fear of being judged.
If you have a relationship with your child where they can come share anything with you, it will make their and your life a lot easier. Research shows that children often suppress their feelings when they are bullied or abused. This suppression of feelings can lead to bigger mental health issues in the future. If they are facing learning difficulties regarding a particular subject, you won’t find it directly on the result day and will instead find about it earlier when there’s scope for making efforts for improvement because they will not be afraid to come tell you about it.
What parents must remember is that for children, every issue is equally important. What may seem like a small problem to you may not mean the same for the child. Children get affected more than adults since they are yet to develop the maturity to differentiate between big problems and small. Do not waive off their issues or humiliate them for them. Instead, help them in the best way you can. It will only make your relationship stronger. You’ve got nothing to lose by it!
Contribute to the relationship by sharing with children information about how your day went and what activities you have planned for them. You can create a bedtime ritual where both of you sit in a corner and talk. Tell them positive things and good qualities you think your children possess. This will reinforce their belief in themselves. Teach them positive affirmations and recite with them before bed. Research shows that positive affirmations help both children as well as adults.
You could also play with children and watch movies together. Take regular trips to places of their interest, involve them in cooking by giving them easy tasks, or let them help around the house so that you can spend quality time with them.
By loving children for more than their abilities and potential, we can set an example and explain to them how they are so much more than failures or disappointments and that there’s more to life than setbacks. By loving children for who they are instead of repeatedly trying to correct them will instil a feeling of being valued for who they are in them. Every child is unique and it is crucial that we encourage children to be the best version of them. It is exactly this that is the beauty of friendships. Friends love you for who you are and help you in your journey of becoming a better person.
Children need the presence of their parents more than presents. By giving your child time, you will not just make your bond and relationship stronger with them but will also set the foundation for a beautiful relationship between the parent and child from the very beginning of the child’s life. Parents are the child’s first friends. As the child grows up, all the parent has to do is ensure that the bond of friendship keeps on thriving. For, there is no better friend than a parent.
Parental love is the only love that is truly selfless, unconditional, and forgiving. - Dr T.P.Chia