Strengthening the Parent Child Bond

the day we moved overseas and left behind my family and our friends

Each of these moments for me are still very vivid and feel like they happened yesterday even though some of them are over 20 years old. Not only do I remember the experience but I also remember the minute details of the event, including feelings, smells, where I was, what I was doing and thinking and so on.

Even as I sit here typing these words into the computer I am still finding ways to fully appreciate this ideal of emotional times being an opportunity to further develop my parent child bond with my children and all the other significant people in my life.

How I have Improved on the Parent Child Bond with
my Kids in Emotional times

Over the last few weeks I have put into practice this concept to use the times of emotion upheaval as a time to develop on my parent child bond.

As I mentioned above one of my strong emotional experiences was the day we moved overseas and left behind my family and our friends, well this experience is still very raw for all us.

We moved less then 5 months ago from my home country Australia and are still learning to adjust to our new lives in our new country, Northern Ireland.

Up until a few weeks ago I have been accepting all of our feelings of sadness and some feelings of excitement at all the new experiences we are having. But what I wasn’t doing was labeling the feelings. I wasn’t using the sad time to just be with my children (and myself).

I wasn’t verbally telling them its okay to be sad. And finally I wasn’t using my years of counseling experience to simply listen to them, to let them find solutions to their sadness or just to let them be okay with all the emotions they were feeling.

Instead I was feeling guilty about the emotional upheaval that they were going through and trying to find ways to fix the problem for them. I would try and point out all the positives of living here. For example, getting to meet their entire daddy’s family including their grandparents cousins, aunties and uncles as well as all the new friends they had made.

But over the past few weeks I have made a big effort to just listen to my children and use all the experience I had gained from my years as a volunteer telephone counselor.

This meant not going into fix it mode. By doing this I have validated my children’s (and my own) feelings and empowered them to find ways to deal with their sadness. The results have been fantastic. It has also strengthen the parent child bond between us.

My daughter who is the more emotionally expressive on, would become highly emotional at times. After she had talked to everyone back in Australia via the video camera she would be easily upset, frustrated and angry with lots of angry outbursts for a few days afterwards.

Now she is still sad but now she tells me that she is sad and after a small cry she then tells me it’s okay because she has such wonderful new friends here in Ireland and then starts to name them all.

It is incredible how at the tender age of 3 (almost 4) that she can use problem solving skills to help her feel better. The conclusion that she reaches are the same as I gave her when I was trying to fix the problem for her. But by allowing her to reach these conclusions herself she is more empowered and feels more in control of her sadness and ways to overcome it.

My son who tends to keep his feelings very closely guarded to his chest has also changed. Now I simply acknowledge his sadness and allow him to experience it rather then dismissing it or trying to fix the problem for him. Because Declan is less expressive in his emotions he was not having the strong outburst that Zoe was having.

Instead he would burst into tears occasionally, which seemed out of the blue, when something didn’t go his way. Initially we didn’t get the connection and unfortunately dismiss his feelings.

But about two weeks ago when he burst into tears I simply said to him do you need a cuddle. He came running into my arms and held me as tight as he could while he cried into my shoulder.

Now my son is not the type to sit down and talk about his feelings for half an hour like his sister, instead he will give you bits and pieces throughout the day. So this meant making sure both Rob and I spent some quality one on one time with him to help him talk.

Quality one on one time with our son means having both the time and the atmosphere to make him feel comfortable to talk about his feelings.

For example, while he helps us unload the wood, while playing football with him or simply giving him a cuddle in bed at the end of the day. Over the past few weeks he has told me about what he likes most about Ireland, and what he missing about Australia and through actions he has told me what he is doing to make things better.

Each time he has opened up I have acknowledge his feelings and not tried to point out positives for him. His response has been to me more affectionate them normal.

He normally loves cuddles and expresses love and happiness through cuddles; usually kisses are restricted to a good night kiss on the forehead. But over the last few weeks he has started to at first sneak me kisses, to now giving me kisses more freely.

For me using the principles of emotional intelligence that I have read in Gottman’s book have helped me to use many of the skills that I have (but had not been using effectively) to develop a stronger connection to my children.

I now look at times of intense emotional feelings, whether these feelings are good or bad, as a time to fully express and show my love to my children. This in turn will increase the parent child bond that we have between us.

Click on the links below to see more of the principles of emotional intelligence, as well as tips on how to raise your own emotional intelligence to improve your parent child bond.

• Articles on Child Developmental Stages
• Articles on how to Communicate with your child

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Updated: July 3, 2019 — 3:14 pm

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