Sometimes life doesn’t go according to plan, and we have to be the ones to adjust to the circumstances. If only it’s possible to get a parenting manual complete with a list of dos and don’ts, we wouldn’t feel as stressed in these circumstances. And I feel like a common worry of parents is if they can build a strong relationship with their child if they’re away in the early years.
I was working away from home when my daughter was just a baby. And while my husband makes sure to update me on all her milestones, I still can’t help but feel scared that my daughter won’t grow up close to me. If you have the same worries as me, I want to reassure you that it’s never too late to still strengthen your bond with your child.
You Will Find Time to Be Together
For moms, breastfeeding is one of the best ways to bond with their child. However, there might be instances where you won’t be able to do so. Our family still gets to see each other even if it’s just through computer screens. So still, I’m glad that my daughter grew up to get excited every time I was home.
In the back of my mind, I’m still worried that I’m not being there for her enough. The last thing I want is for my daughter to feel like she can’t rely on me when she needs me because our bond is not tight. If this is also the same case for you, just start letting them get familiar with your presence.
Don’t feel immediately discouraged if they are not as enthusiastic as you are with them. You can just start with finding time throughout the day or week where you can spend time together. It might seem like it’s impossible at first because of your work or their other activities, but even short times like lunches and dinners are enough to know each other.
A common thing that might make it feel awkward is if it feels like your child would rather hang with someone else or do other things when you’re making a plan. However, just be patient and know that they just need more time. You can suggest that you’ll drive them to the friend’s house instead or help them with an assignment. Bottom line is just be together and close the physical distance between the two of you.
You Will Discover Things in Common
Another typical worry that you might have in mind is “will I be able to find something in common with my son/daughter?” The first step is to find the time and the next step is to find activities and interests to strengthen your bond. It’s not enough to just do mundane activities together. Instead, it will be more intimate if you share interests and passions as well.
I noticed that my daughter is already taking an interest in her older brother’s scooter for a five-year-old. And this is also a win-win for me because I love being active outdoors. I decided to get her a scooter here and took the chance to be the one to teach her how to ride safely. Now, we both enjoy going to the park and riding around the neighborhood every weekend, and we’re also considering getting a bike soon.
You can also observe the things that your child is more excited about. For example, maybe you notice that your little one is spending more time around you when you’re cooking in the kitchen. You can take this opportunity to teach him/her some family recipes, or even try to come up with recipes together.
At the same time, try to find games and activities that both of you enjoy, and can also do together. You might be a former soccer player in your younger days, and your child might be interested in playing as well. Or you can also visit museums or zoos if your child is interested in art or animals.
Lastly, even if you can’t immediately find common interests, get to know theirs, and maybe you’ll enjoy them too. Who knows? Maybe there’s a connection between your interests, and you can meet halfway.
Show Your Appreciation and Love
I know this last subject is something that you already know is mandatory to bond with your child. However, it might feel awkward for the both of you, especially if you’re not a touchy-feely family. Still, there are small moments that happen every day where you can show your appreciation and love to your child without feeling cringy and forced.
Your child will have an easier time being around and close to you if you are acknowledging their achievements every time. Don’t be shy to show your appreciation even when your child does something as small as making his/her bed in the morning. After all, isn’t it easier to bond with someone who values your significance?
One of the reasons why some kids are not that close to their parents is because they feel like mom and dad never acknowledge their efforts. In turn, they look for this support in other people. When this happens, your remarks and advice will not be significant for them later on.
You can just say to your child that you always appreciate their help and effort, and over time, this habit gets more natural and comfortable. At the same time, don’t forget to make your child feel that their emotions are acknowledged. When you notice that your little one gets upset over something, reassure them that you know why they feel that way. Doing so helps take down walls and allows them to trust you when they need someone to listen.
My main takeaway here is that don’t be discouraged if you feel like it’s too late to build a strong bond with your child. Start small and slow, and both of you will feel comfortable over time. Don’t be afraid to communicate your love to your child even if it’s just through gestures.