By Dickson Tumuramye
OPINION | Some parents find it hard to interact and engage with children in such a way that they learn and grow into remarkable adults. This calls for very effective parenting which demands quality and quantity of time spent with children. Giving such time to your children overtime brings bonding and eventually you will be able to realize how intimate you and your children have become together.
Intimacy is when you feel very much connected to someone; the closeness, attachment, mutual affection, companionship with your children. This is something that grows overtime. It does not happen in a single day. The intimate relationship we develop with our loved ones should be holistic in approach. It should be physical, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, experiential Intimacy. As parents, it is our total obligation to develop intimacy with our children.
What promotes intimacy with our children depends on various factors. A parent must be available in their lives. Every child loves affection from his or her parents. This comes when a parentis always fully present in every bit of a child’s walk. This helps a child to learn that he/she has a pillar (parent) in his/her life, is well protected and has a shoulder to lean on in case of anything. Our children don’t desire our presents but our presence in every part of their lives.
Don’t just be present, create time for intimate interactions in your schedule. Some parents are so busy that they hardly find time to be with their children at home or interact with them in a friendly manner. You must prioritise quality time with your children. Make use of your time to play together, share fun, walk around together, tell stories, jokes, etc.
As most marrieds would like their spouses to know what they experienced in the course of the day, so even our children have such feelings. Take time to identify the need in them. Even if they have not told you, take the initiative to know how their day/night was, what they went through at school, home, church etc. This opens a relationship between you and your child. When a child learns that you like to know what happens in his/her life, they will take keen interest in looking forward to telling you what they went through or feel. This will eventually create openness and promote communication.
Don’t forget to give a listening ear to your children. Every child has a time he/she likes to express her/himself to a parent. It doesn’t matter what the parent is doing. With their innocence, what a child wants to first know is if you wish to hear what they are telling you. Pay attention to them before you turn them off or shout at them to indicate how busy you are or how it is not time to discuss that.
Children like our words of affirmation in all situations. They need to know or hear from us that we love them. When they achieve something, they need to be appreciated. They need to hear good words of encouragement from us even when you may not be quite comfortable with what they are doing. But the fact that they are assured of your positive words, they too will take keen interest in listening to your advice because they are assured of your approval in all that they do. Let your child be your No. 1 champion in everything. This removes fear from your child and creates confidence and high self-esteem.
The writer is a child advocate, counselor based in Kampala