Research shows us that being connected to or having a secure attachment with our children is one of the most important actions a parent can take to improve behaviour in their children. A connection with you, provides a secure base and a secure base for many reasons improves behaviour.
So how can you stay connected with your child?
Empathy and Mirroring
Practice empathic understanding or mirroring – Show your child that you understand what they are feeling even when you are displeased with their actions – Ask yourself, “What might he or she be thinking, seeing or feeling right now?” It’s likely that they are not experiencing an event the same way you are. Be patient, listen carefully, watch and follow their cues Let your child always have the experience of feeling seen, heard, understood and valued when they communicate even in a negative way.
Spend at least 15 minutes of meaningful, uninterrupted special time with your child each day. Focus your undivided attention on this one child. Have them take the lead on whatever activity you will participate in during time.
Shower your child with affection in the form of eye contact, smiles, warmth and safe physical touch. Use kind words, dance together, tell them jokes and laugh at their joke.
Teach Instead of Punishing
Discipline by teaching not punishing – The root word for discipline is ‘disciple’ someone who follows you. Someone you teach or train to follow a code of behaviour. The aim of discipline should be learning not punishing. Every opportunity to discipline should be an opportunity to teach in a way that is calm and connects with your child.
Be predictable. Your children need you to be there for them when they cry soothe them, when they yell find out what they need. When they call answer. Always respond as soon as you can. Remember that you are their secure base. A place that provides them with the confidence to go out into the figurative and literal world, knowing that they can always return. They must know that if they need you, you will be there. Contrary to popular belief, responding when your child needs you is not a way to ‘spoil’ them. What it will do is build confidence, relationship and a healthy attachment. Children respond far more positively to the person they are attached to.
Rituals and Routines
Create rituals and routines. They create consistency and structure. Consistency creates confidence and engenders trust which also reduces anxiety in the child about separation and loss. Remember that your child needs you to be their safe place.
Take care of yourself. You cannot give what you do not have. Fill yourself up so that you have the very best of what matters most, so you can pass it on to your child. Self-care also ensures that you are able to self-regulate as an adult and be far better able to parent in a conscious way, understanding your parenting triggers and taking control of them.
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‘How to Make Discipline Easier by Connecting with Your Child’